Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Holy Week

 “As we approach this holy week—Passover Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb—may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,” for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone.”

-Elder Jeffery R.  Holland NoneWere with Him (April 2009)

For many Christians, “Holy Week” describes a season of observance that begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter morning.

So lately, for me, Easter, Christmas, and other holidays just seem to fly by, and I don't get to appreciate them. I wanted that to be different this Easter.  Easter is the reason I celebrate Christmas, Easter is the reason I know that I can change and become better. Easter is a celebration of the most loving act in all history, the Atonement. Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His suffering and death on the Cross, and His Resurrection. 
Yet for some reason we celebrate a bunny leaving decorated eggs hidden for children to find? Don't get me wrong, bunnies are adorable, just look at my Pintrest, I love rabbits. I love the movie Rise of the Guardians, I only just saw it last semester and fell in love with it, and I love Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny, it continues to delight me. I still fail to understand why it is celebrated this way.
In an effort to remember the reason for the season I researched the events of the Holy Week, and complied a list. I thought I would share it. Please Remember why we celebrate Easter. 

So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem. 
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet (April 2015)

For a more complete look at the Holy Week in the Scriptures, see the list below:

Wednesday- No known information, but it’s likely that some of the events accredited to Tuesday happened on Wednesday.


Friday, March 11, 2016


Onward with the Recap!
That winter semester was my last one in the dorms on campus.
I went with Courtney to an Acrobat Show, It was amazing.
My mum and I saw Frozen. I started watching Parks and Rec. How I Met Your Mother ended in a terrible way, I'm still mad about it.
I laughed at this picture for a least a week, I am still laughing at it now. 

I took Math 101 from Brother Rich and my life was spent in the Library and Math lab. It was exciting.
This was a 3 credit class, but 4 days a week, and very demanding. 

That semester my grades were the best they've ever been. It was very exciting, but like I said, I spent practically all that semester in the Library.
Summer of 2014
We moved to a different house, and again on my Birthday. It was frustrating. I missed our Vegas house so much! We did move close to a church building which was fun, and it was closer to the job I would get at a shoe store for the summer.
I began a journey of discovery about feminism. It started with the #yesallwomen movement.
This is horrifying. This is Rape Culture. 
And I finally realized that I've been a feminist my entire life, I just didn't know it. and I learned to say it- I am a feminist! 
In June one of my companions got sealed to her husband in the Manti temple : ] It was wonderful to be there, and see her, and be a part of that beautiful day with her. Mum has all those photos, otherwise I'd share one.
My Mission President and his Wife came home, and it was so much fun to be there. Hearing their voices again felt like home. I really discovered on the mission how powerful it is just to hear a loved one's voice, my mum started sending me voice recordings halfway through and it was a powerful as getting a hug from her. I got to hear them speak, and see them interact, and even hug both of them. It was awesome. I loved it. And again my mom has those photos.
I finally joined the world and got a smart phone, which was a little weird. But I took a lot more pictures, to be fair- mostly of my dogs.  :]]
Cricket thought that that big stuffed Panda was hers : ]
I caught Petals yawning, and it cracks me up. 
I was ecstatic to quit my shoe store job and go back to BYU-Idaho for the Fall semester. 
I also got a part time job for the semester with Brother Rich, my math professor from the previous 2 semesters, I still work for him today as a T.A. I also moved to the apartment complex where I currently still reside. We had a great semester together. It was fun because Courtney officially became a roommate. The Fall of 2013 she lived next door to us, and spent most of the time at our apartment. It was fun to move somewhere with people I already knew and lived with previously. We had two other roommates, the Jessica's : ] who are amazing, that we met that semester. It was a blast. We all learned each other's love languages- and we hung out all the time. Words are failing me to describe how much I loved that time with them. All good things must come to an end, and that semester did end. 
That Christmas, the plumbing in our house decided it hated us. We were without a toilet and shower for Christmas, which made it interesting. I've failed to mention on my 2013 recap how wonderful it was to be home for holidays. I still very much appreciate that, even when I can't use the bathroom all day. :] 
That pretty much sums up 2014. : ]

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day

In honor of International Women's Day, I wanted to talk about some of the women who have influenced me. This is a limited list, because if I named them all, this entry would be even longer. 

First and foremost, my faithful, wonderful, compassionate, witty, intelligent and beautiful Mother. She took a child that wasn't biologically hers and loved and raised it as her own. Her faith and diligence inspire me. She's so creative, and she's always there for me. 
I don't have an actual photo of the next woman (I went to pintrest). My birth mother shared her body with me for 9 months and knew that I needed to be with another family, because that would be my best chance. I am so grateful for her strength. 

My Companions, only a few pictured here. Though technically Sister Nelson wasn't my companion, I spent over half my mission in the same district as her, we even have a baptism together! Rather hilariously we are both from Vegas and I knew her aunt before the mission. So really we basically were companions. My companions are so dear to my heart, and taught me so much. They are all exceptional women of courage and faith. They are my Sisters. 

There are so many women who I love and learned from that I met on the mission, here are a few, but not all. They are women of character and strength who have faced a lot and are wonderful. 

I can't do this without mentioning Sister Woodbury. Her support, example and teachings were and are such a blessing 
Woodbury's and I (My first day in Kentucky) 
My dear friends, I found this old random photo of us, and it cracks me up.
Deanna, Cynara, Nancy, and I 
Britta, McKenzie, Britt, and I 
Emilie, Courtney, and I

Jess, Jessica, Heidi, Courtney and I

I am also inspired by the women of faith- Mother Eve, Mary, Elisabeth, Emma Smith, Mary Fielding Smith, and Eliza R. Snow to name a few.
Mary and Elisabeth
Emma Smith 
Carole M. Stephens

And in Popular Culture, I have a few women I appreciate
Rita Vrataski/Emily Blunt

Leslie Knope/Amy Poehler
Hermione Granger/Emma Watson 
Rita Vrataski is dear to my heart, because she's awesome, she's smart and a fighter . If you haven't seen Edge of Tomorrow, you should. I also so dearly love Emily Blunt the actress that portrays Rita, and so many other characters on screen, I've loved her since Devil Wears Prada. She's a talented actress, with perfect comedic timing (something that I appreciate in anyone) 
Leslie Knope is hilarious and passionate. I adore her, and Amy Poehler they are both wonderful. 
Hermione Granger, she's smart, loyal and takes a stand. How can you not love her? Emma Watson is a fantastic woman as well, her comments on gender equality are on point. 

I have one last picture to share
Jessica Day, New Girl
I think this is important, and something to note on International Women's Day. Be yourself, whether it's sporty, nerdy, girly, whatever! Own it, and love yourself. 

Thank you to the amazing Women in my life. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

2013 Recap.

Continuing on with the 5 year gap of posts.
2013- Jan 2 I flew home from Kentucky.
We were waiting for our flight to Chicago. It was the weirdest feeling. 
I was blessed with people to welcome me home. Hugging Mum was the BEST feeling in the world. I could have stood there for an hour just hugging her in the airport baggage claim. I wish I had a picture of it. 
I got to be home for one day- which was spent packing. Because I had to be at BYU-Idaho Jan 4th. But I got to see Nancy, a few other people, snuggle with my dogs, and eat at Ricardo's. The important things you know. 
Thankfully at the time, in Rexburg we had old family friends- the Waltons. They let my mum stay there with them for a week. My sweet roommates didn't see me much that first week, because I spent all my spare time with her. 
It was a good and bad semester for me. It was GREAT because of my kind, thoughtful, understanding, and beautiful roommates.
At the Sand Dunes. 
They put up with my super awkward what-am-I-doing RMness. 
Coming home was hard. I hated it. I felt purposeless, I missed my mum (I was in Idaho she was in Nevada), I missed home. I missed my friends and support in Vegas, I missed my dogs. I missed my Sisters, and a few Elders. I missed the people so much! I missed the mission, but I didn't want to be a missionary again, because my last transfer was the hardest, which was by divine design so that I would be happy to go home. I felt and saw myself fall into old patterns from my life before the mission- I didn't like it. I struggled, to put it lightly. 
So when you meet an RM and they are weird, cut them some slack. Not everyone transitions easily. I didn't feel settled until I'd been home 10 months. 
My roommates, a FHE sister, and I 
That semester though, I was so blessed with amazing roommates, a fantastic FHE group. (I remember when I met my fhe brothers for the first time, one of them hugged me. An innocent gesture, but I felt so extremely awkward and uncomfortable, because he surprised me, and I'd only been home a week) I don't even want to think what that semester would've been like with different roommates and FHE. 
My FHE group
Our FHE brothers made us Breakfast :]
One of the best weekends of that year, was going to a mission reunion the Friday before April conference. My roommates and I drove down and they dropped me off at the church, and I finally got to see my mission friends. 
Everett, Gardner, Wood (Gardner now), and Banks
Wood, Edgerton, and I 
Fun fact, Steph and Bridget were roommates at BYU before their missions. they were called to separate missions, Edgerton to the GKLM (Great Kentucky Louisville Mission) and Wood to Temple Square. On Wood's outbound she served in the GKLM with me. They even got to see each other in Kentucky :]
I spent the night at on Steph and Bridget's floor, and we talked late into the night Brooke even came by. I got to attend Saturday morning session of General Conference with a couple of my favorite Vegas peeps, Nancy and Cynara. It was amazing. 
Nancy, Cynara and I between sessions. 
On Sunday I spent some time with Ford, Nelson, and Wood. It was so good to be reunited with the Sisters of the Kentuckiana District : ] It was very cathartic for me. I needed to talk with my Sisters from my mission, it helped me with all the things I was dealing with as returned missionary. Everything wasn't solved, and I wasn't looking for that, just an assurance I wasn't alone. 

Mum came and picked me up from college at the end of the semester, and the next two weeks were a whirlwind. While picking me up, she had an interview for a job in Idaho Falls. She got the job, and God was clearly telling us that it was time to move again. 
Petals making sure that she isn't left behind. 
So we made the plans. I spent my two weeks in Vegas packing up the miracle house. 
In some ways it felt like I never came home from my mission, because I didn't get to spend much time in my beautiful Vegas. 
On my 24th Birthday we said goodbye to Vegas and drove to Idaho. 
My summer was spent unpacking. I spent some time with Crystal, my MTC companion. I went to the singles ward and had fun. I won't lie I spent a lot of time missing Vegas, still do, but that summer was the hardest. Mum LOVES Idaho. 
I was able to attend my first sealing, of two missionaries from my mission. So much fun! 
Nelson, Ford, Noakes, Mikami (now Simms), Simms, Ash, A member from the mission :], and Clemmons. Ignore the demon eyes from the flash. 
I had to include this picture of Ford and I making the same face without either of us realizing it. 
The Perry's with a few of their Sister Missionaries :] 
One of the best things about that summer was visiting the Perry's! A great weekend, with great people. The Perry's were and are so supportive. 
That summer and fall two more of my companions got married, but I was unable to attend, but I have pictures of them with their future husbands from Conference Weekend. : ] 
My trainer, Edgerton, with her future husband, Clark. Aren't they Cute!?
Wood and Gardner 
I love them so much. Fun fact they were both Zone Leaders at one point in their missions. 
In fall my semester started, and little did I know, I was taking a class that would basically change the way I see things. Math 100B- with Brother Rich. This is the first math class I had ever taken (in my many many many years of school) that made sense. I would later take Math 101 from Brother Rich, and the next year I would become one of his graders. I am now his T.A. and algebra is sometimes the only thing that makes sense to me. 
Also I roomed with people I still room with today. We were however, the worst at taking pictures, Heidi and I just discussed this. Heidi, Courtney, and I still live together. We have a good time. We have more pictures from our later semesters. 
That pretty much sums up the year 2013 for me. Mum will have to tell you her side one of these days. 2014 and 2015 yet to come. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mission Recap

The last time I posted was 2011. 
Lets see what has happened since then...
Mum and I the day before I entered the MTC (Credit to Shine Photography for this beautiful photo)
I had the opportunity to serve a mission for the Lord and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the Great Kentucky Louisville Mission (English speaking). I served from June 22, 2011- Jan 2, 2013 and in beautiful areas: Berea, KY, Charlestown and Salem, IN and finished my time in Paris, KY
My MTC companion, Sister Ash, and I pointing to our mission
Let me write for a moment about the Woodburys, I met the Woodburys in the MTC- I was in the MTC during a very busy time, half of it was closed off for the Mission Presidents and  their Wives who were also being trained. I couldn't ask for better a better couple to serve in that position. 
I wrote in my journal about meeting them: "Met my Mission President and his Wife :] they are so super cute, so sweet! I'm excited to get to know them better! Sister Woodbury is a woman after my own heart, she loves music and was even in MoTab!" 
They are fantastic people, and I learned so much from them in their words and examples.  I wish I could fully express in words my love and gratitude for them. They both worked so hard, and loved us all so much.
left to right: Sister Woodbury, yours truly, Sister Jensen, and President Woodbury.
This is July 2012- you don't see it, but we are dying of heat/humidity. 
I was able to meet, teach and be taught by wonderful people that I found everywhere, in my mission and ward leaders, my fellow missionaries, members and people I met on the street.  At my first transfer meeting a departing Elder said "The only place you'll find success before work is in the dictionary." This stayed with me the duration of my mission. 
Sister's Wood, Noakes, Nelson, and Ford (The Sisters of the Kentuckiana District)
It's hard to talk about those 18 months and 3 weeks (I almost made it to 19 months!) in a few words. It was amazing, it was difficult. It was a growing experience, I learned that I can do hard things with the support of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Spirit. It changed me. I gained amazing sisters in my companions. I saw the best of humanity and a couple times the worst.
Sister Edgerton (My trainer), Me, Our beloved friend, Elder's Everett and Beagley
This day is one of my favorites. 
I'll be honest before my my mission call came, there was a thought in the back of my mind, that I never voiced that said, please nowhere hot and humid, and not the Bible Belt, If you don't know, Kentucky and Indiana are definitely part of the Bible Belt and the humidity is terrible in the summer and the winter! I was drenched in the summer and chilled to the bone in the winter. 
Elder's Ferguson, Banks, the Werner Family, Sister's Noakes, and Wood 
There is so much love I have for these amazing people beside me. 
The Bible belt made an interesting mission because so many of the people I met already had a belief and love for Jesus Christ. Because of that we taught and focused on the Restoration of Christ's Church.
Elders Baker and St. Martin in Front 
In Back: The trio of legend. Sisters Noakes, Ford,& Hunt with the fantastic Mullin's family. 
How do I describe the Mullins? I can't fully describe their open hearts and awesomeness. 
Also do you see that greenery? that's why you put up with the humidity. 
I loved teaching the message of the Restoration in the land where it happened in the language of the Restoration. I loved testifying of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and living Prophets. 
The Roberts Family and I. Brother Roberts had been attending and participating in the Church for YEARS, when he was ready to be baptized he and his ecstatic wife approached us. they both taught me so much, and they are dear to my heart.  
I was blessed to see my brothers and sisters come closer to Christ, and blessed with a love for them. Still, there were times of utter heartbreak. When families I loved would start avoiding us, when wards were divided and members in need of love and support were ignored, when people I loved would reject the gospel. I felt a sadness that I didn't expect. I cried often, something that didn't happen that much before my mission.
Brother Harney and Sister Jensen.
Words fail me when talking about these two amazing children of God. Moments with them were full of laughter, contentment, joy, and love.
I will be perfectly honest, it was hard, there were times I wasn't sure I could do it. There were times I didn't think my heart could take anymore. It was a combination of a love of God, the Spirit, and frankly a little bit of stubbornness that helped me make it through the first 6 months. 
At the end, I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. My body ached, my right knee hasn't been the same since, when I left my areas I felt as if I was carving off a piece of my heart and leaving it there. I have never felt that tired my entire life. I gave the mission everything I had. 
The Departing Missionaries with the Woodbury's 
It was a strange feeling at the last transfer meeting, I could sense the feeling of loss among the departing missionaries as we stared out at the crowd. It was an interesting mix of emotions, there was a desire to be there at the end but also a longing for the middle. I looked to the newly arrived missionaries and I felt a prick of jealousy amidst pity. I remember looking down at my name tag and thinking how strange life would be without it.

It was the hardest and best time of my life. I wouldn't trade that time for anything. 
I am eternally grateful for those who made it possible for me to serve. Thank you, and God Bless you. 

For more pictures --> Facebook Mission Album