Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pray: Crossroads

I have come to realize that most of the things I write about are the things that keep me up at night. It is not until I write them out that I can finally let it all go....at least until my anxious heart finds something else to think about. There has been a particular memory on my mind, and of course it's something from the mission field. I'll start from the beginning.
It was my first time training a new missionary. I was a mess, while still completely holding it together. I was at the end of my rope. I was done. I felt like I had been beat up, thrown down a couple flights of stairs...and then hit by a bus. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I was trying to do my best at hiding these feelings from my new greenie companion- I was the trainer after all- I was supposed to be showing her how wonderful missionary work is, and that I wanted nothing more than to run people down to tell them the good news. Something that was brought to my attention from a number of companions is that I have a wonderful talent of building walls and not letting people in- I'm still working on that. My greenie was well acquainted with such a wall- I certainly didn't think she needed to deal with anything I was going through when she was just new out.  Anyways, trying to just keep my head above water, being a good example to my companion, I was failing miserably at hiding all these things. It was by far the time on my mission that I was most ready to go home- had a plane touched down and welcomed me aboard I would have been home in a little over 6 hours. So this is where the crossroads comes in, not in where you would think, there is no way I ever would have gone home early....but the moment arrived where Sister Training Leaders came to what they thought was "the rescue". They pulled me aside to talk to me alone, and basically ripped me apart and told me that I didn't love my companion enough. There was really no concern for what I was feeling or going through-I remained stoned face and didn't fall apart until I was in the car.  I went home bawling that night. If I was ready to quit before their "rescue" I was over the edge after that. I was so angry and overwhelmed. I could have handled it all better, as they could have. I can remember my study the morning after this particular evening. I was at a crossroad. I said to myself- this can be a moment that destroys you or builds you- but YOU have to chose. This decision is what really began to change me. I came to realize that the only thing that mattered was what Christ thought of me. He knew my struggles and I could rely on him to overcome those imperfections.
You chose your direction.
You've got to find a direction, and then find people who are going in the same direction. 

That's all for now,

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pray: Perhaps a Rant

Well I suppose if you haven't noticed yet, my blog is mostly reserved for inner rants that seem to flow into cyberspace. Today will be no different, so if you have some other pressing matters to attend too I would advise reading no further and going back to something productive.

For those who have been on a mission know how blown out of proportion it is to come home off your mission. Most missionaries have like this big ol' melt down that they are going home, that they never want to leave the mission field, [insert more whining to your discretion]. Anyways, this isn't a post about what it's like to come off your mission, but it leads into what I want to rant about- Apostasy. Apostasy was one of the things that was most poignant to coming home. I had spent 18 months trying to help others come unto Christ, sure we met a lot of rejection, but I wasn't prepared to come home and see how many had left after having known the truth! So many families who were now apart because one spouse or the other had gone off the deep end...or even just small things that led to a lackadaisical approach to living the gospel. It's been on my mind and I've been wondering why is it that people leave? What is so alluring to just fade into the world?

I've found a few answers.
1) People want an easy God. 
While a missionary, I can't count the amount of times that people would say that they were spiritual rather than religious, or that it didn't matter what they did now, that God would forgive them for whatever they do, just as long as they believe.  "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds." The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
 God requires us to change. He requires us to become more like him so we can be comfortable in his presence.

2) There is a common belief that truth is dependent on belief 
It's really returning to the childhood game of peek-a-boo or hide and seek. When a child covers their eyes, they believe you can't see them because they can't see you. Even though the child believes you can't see them, it doesn't change the reality that they are still standing in front of you. Whether we believe a truth or not, that truth is unchanging. Truth doesn't change.
"If a teaching fits their lifestyle, they accept it and it becomes part of their faith. If it does not, they develop their own man-made faith. Faith and spirituality are now viewed as consumer products. Materialism has taken over and replaced God." Helping others find faith in Christ -Elder L. Tom Perry  
We either accept truth- all of it or we reject all of it. The teachings of Jesus Christ are not to be taken in a cafeteria manner- we can't pick and choose.

Last one, 

3) People want easy happiness.
People create themselves to be their own masters, they "invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside of God, apart from God and out of hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history, money, poverty, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery, the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make them happy."- The truth about Eden (it's a great book, I recommend it) We want happiness to be easy- we don't want a God that would require us to change, because change is uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

I think these are characteristics that are just part of the natural man. We would all love it if we didn't have to do anything- just sit back, eat, drink and be merry, it would be great if we could all just pick and choose what commandments we wanted to follow and have no consequences and it would be awesome if lasting happiness came from sex, drugs and rock and roll (what does come from that are mostly STDs) ......but I'm here to say....LET"S NOT BE STUPID. (sue me for being blunt). Perhaps living the gospel, the full gospel, seems sometimes difficult, sometimes inconvenient, but in my personal opinion...the alternative is a lot harder and causes a lot more problems. 

Living the gospel of Jesus Christ is the anchor for my soul. It directs me to happiness, sometimes I don't see it all clearly, but I know that for every commandment, every responsibility, there is reason, and that reason is to help me change to become more like my Saviour Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father.
  Give yourself a pat on the back if you managed to to stick around long enough to read this whole thing. Have a happy week! I accept positive and negative feedback ;) Though, if it's negative...I'll probably ignore it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pray: Confessions of a Return Missionary

I've been itching to write a post all week. It's been a wonderful Sabbath. I went to the other ward and it was lovely- a rather welcoming bunch I'd have to say.
Being an "RM" (returned missionary) comes with an interesting stigma. As soon as you step off that plane it's like everyone expects that you have your life together, know exactly what you want to do in school, are ready to get married to the first guy who asks, and should know every Sunday School answer. Ahem.....well I'm here to say that....well that's not quite the case.
I can't quite say I know exactly what I want to do as far as schooling goes- I do know that I"m going into Public Health with an emphasis on Epidemiology...and I still don't know how to spell it.....but no, I have no idea what the heck I'm going to do with that, but that's okay.
The marriage jokes have started. Since being home I've quickly remembered how much I dislike being social. I'm a closet introvert. I've self diagnosed myself through: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html

23 Signs You're Secretly An Introvert
1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.  
2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people. (personally it's mostly for the food)
3. You often feel alone in a crowd.
4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.
5. You've been called "too intense."
6. You're easily distracted. (squirrel)
7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.
8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.  (So incredibly true)
9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle. 
10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.
11. You're in a relationship with an extrovert. (Well I would actually have to talk to boys)
12. You'd rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.
13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation. 
14. You screen all your calls -- even from friends.  (It's nothing personal if I don't answer)
15. You notice details that others don't.          
16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.(It's hilarious, I wish you could hear it)
17. You have low blood pressure. 
18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s. 
19. You don't feel "high" from your surroundings 
20. You look at the big picture. 
21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”
22. You’re a writer.  (I have a blog...does that count?)
23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.         
   I would add one more....#24...You make social plans that seems like a good idea, and then completely dread it and look for every excuse to get out of going.
It was easy being social as a missionary- I just hid behind the tag! People only needed to know Sister Allred, forget about Sarah. 

Now for the Sunday School answers....before my mission I pictured myself returning from the mission field as a spiritual giant...I would have countless scriptures memorized, I would know every scriptural story and would be able to deliver riveting talks given 3 minutes notice. Well that dream was dashed...I don't know all the answers, in fact, if anything I've just come to realize how far I have to go! People still get on my nerves, and my patience hasn't fully developed. Overall I'm still imperfect, but I now have a greater drive and desire to be better. One little step at a time...good thing God doesn't demand perfection, only progress.
Yours Truly,
A RM Closet Introvert

Friday, November 7, 2014

Create: Electronics Envelope

After extreme frustration and a constant supply of Diet Coke I have actually completed a sewing project! I don't think I'll so much as look at a sewing machine for at least a week. This might look really simple...but I first started out with trying to come up with my own pattern- it was going to be completely different from this...but then I caved and looked up a pattern and added a few things to make it what I wanted. So voila! Finally something cute to organize all my cords!

 Open it up and pull out a board equipped to organize all your USBs, headphone and chargers....all in one place :)

This is where I found the envelope pattern.  http://seekatesew.com/free-patterns/  
Happy Creating!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pray: Single but Awkward

Welcome back to Hip Hip Hooray! After 18 months of adventures in the beautiful land of Toronto...I'M BACK! Since being a return missionary I have learned a few things....
1. I may be single, but I'm awkward
2. Missionary work is hard, but not as hard as losing the weight I gained
3. Hobbies are a good thing

I'll share a little bit from my mission. For those of you who don't know, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I had the opportunity to go to Toronto for 18 months and serve God as well as the people of Ontario. I won't be flowery and say I enjoyed every minute of it, because there were times where I just wanted to curl up and watch a movie...and maybe take a nap...but that wasn't an option so I pushed through and learned a whole lot. It's definitely a sacred experience for those who are able to do it- when you learn to forget yourself, you find yourself.

I loved my mission. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It wasn't a perfect 18 months, but it was the best 18 months for my life. I've struggled with depression since high school (runs in the family..along with an extreme level of awesomeness) and so it was an extreme learning curve in relying on God and learning to just stop always thinking about myself. I've seen people turn away from God because of trials or difficulties. They blame him...perhaps they wonder "How could a loving God leave me here like this?"...fortunately that is one of the very common questions I've learned the answer to. In reality, this life is a very very small blimp in the eternal plan. It is through these trials that we can either grow or break. The only difference between a stepping stone and a stumbling block is how high you lift your foot. For me...I prefer to use stepping stones. There were times where I never felt God so close, and then others where He never felt so far...but in retrospect I now can see He was with me the whole time. I came to know my Saviour. Before my mission I always knew about the Atonement of Christ, but it wasn't until this great refining process where I came to feel the Atonement in my own life. I know that Christ lives and that we can all return to God, if we just learn to lift our feet higher and fully rely on him.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

FYI: My family is the bomb.

Well it has certainly been an incredibly interesting month. There have been some intensely stressful days and some pretty awesome days. Mind you- it past pretty quick because I was on drugs for half of it- I should clarify- I had surgery therefore I had some awesome pain killers.  Warning: this post is going to be full of ranting about how awesome my family is :) 
Just to start out...we have some pictures from the good ol' days...

Dearest Tess...the likely cause of why I had to have surgery, but I love her anyways. 

The picture of Mom and Dad is from last summer.

 These two little boy are sooo cute! Certainly get into mischief easily, but just too cute to get angry at. 
Benson boy especially took a liking to me :) I had often skyped him and so he already knew me :) He is so little- which just makes you want to squeeze him more! My favorite moment while being around him  was on a Friday morning. I was sleeping out on the couch in front of the TV, and it was probably 6:30AM. I woke up to teeny, tiny little hiccups...and out came Benson boy still dazed from just waking up. He curled up in Annie's arms and watched morning cartoons. 
And this is Granty Pant's favorite moment. He absolutely loves these tongs. The best was when he decided to get his mom :) 
Now the best moment of them together...now Grant is much bigger than Benson, and seemed to think Benson and him were great friends, while Benson wasn't so sure. Grant tried to give Benson a hug...and this is what happened. 
If you can't tell...Benson is screaming and crying. 
Now this is what it takes to get a picture of Abigail and I....

Then we finally got a good picture.....hahah yeah right...this is what we got.
And it just goes on
This was on my hike this morning for my geology class- I hate that class. I am always reminded of the A Bug's Life line..."but it's a rock"
After my hike, Paul and I headed up to Park City to go horseback riding...he had never been on a horse before- ridiculous! We had a few  cooperation issues so it probably wasn't the most perfect first horseback riding experience, but He says he had fun. 
And finally but not least- Ellen is in town! Emilee and I have certainly loved having her with us! (You might comment that this post is veering off the family subject- with that you would be very wrong) This would be my extended family :)
Only a couple more weeks of school, and only a little more days after that till the MTC :) So excited! 

And with that- I have an awesome family. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tender Mercies

Today has been a less than ideal day. For the past month and a half I have had this pain on the top of my foot, already had this pain that went away, I waited and waited for the pain to go away. To my dismay the pain got worse and my foot began to swell. Last week I had an x-ray of my foot, and finally saw the podiatrist this morning. I sat down in the chair and he started to mumble some mumbo jumbo, and I said: wait, what's wrong? Yeah apparently this piece of my navicular bone is just chilling detached on the top of my foot. 
The doctor asked me what I did, and I said: Nothing, I'm not an athlete, heck, I'm lazy!  In a matter of minutes he gave me my options: 1) get orthotics and hope they do the trick (so just treat the symptoms), 2) have surgery and take the sucker out. I was at first relieved that there was something fixable wrong with my foot, but then the realization of the dilemma hit me. Do I just get the orthotics and hope they do the trick, and risk having problems on my mission and possibly get sent home? Or do I suck it up and get the surgery? After rolling my eyes, and mentally throwing myself on the ground having a tantrum, I made the appointment to have the surgery. OH are you wondering how I did this? The only thing I can attribute to this (as it takes a lot of force) is 7 some years ago- I had a horse come over on top of me and land on my ankle/foot. I must have recently torqued it just the right way to have it start hurting and bothering me so much. So today suddenly turned into a very stressful day. 

Now for the tender mercies part :) 
At about 11 I got a text from a Mary Seamons who is leaving on her mission asking me if I was going to lunch with her and some friends......to Cafe Rio...OF COURSE I WAS GOING! T'was a lovely chat and met some awesome new people. Helped me keep remember how much I want to serve a mission. The second mercy was when I was in the doctors office getting molds of my feet done- the lady there was so awesome! She was so excited for me, and that I was going on a mission. She gave me so much reassurance that I was doing the right thing, and though this is a bit of a set back- I can do it!