Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nieces & Nephews

I wish I had taken pictures of Naarya in her swimsuit! She is honestly the most adorable two year old on the face of the planet. Swimming with her yesterday made me oddly aware of all the experiences I will miss with my other nieces and nephews. Thane will be a little over two years when I get back from my mission and Lily will be almost two years old. Tyrie will have another little girl soon and she will be a year and half, as will Stella's son that is due in January. Dont get me wrong, I'm excited to be serving, but I wish I could somehow experience both a mission and all my nieces and nephew's first year a half.
They are adorable, arent they? Anyway, this blog post is not just about my nieces and nephews, but also about the progress of getting ready for my mission. First of all, I still have no idea what I'm going to do until March (besides help my mom and prepare for my mission), so if anyone has ideas on making money for three months those suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!! Today I got my shots for my mission so my arm is super sore, and tomorrow I figure out my deferment for BYU-I. I will be getting an Idaho license soon, and my acceptance letter is written! The most exciting part, though, is I will be receiving my endowments sometime next week! I have an interview set up with the Bishop Sunday and he told me he was going to set one up with the Stake President then too. I really want to do it in the Salt Lake temple, but I'm not sure yet.

Just look at it! It is beautiful and holds so much history. I would also be able to see all the gorgeous Christmas lights.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Mission Call!

Guess what flag?!

So the wait is over! I'm going to ARGENTINA!!! (more specifically the Argentina Neuquen Mission) I leave for the MTC in Provo on March 13, which is exactly three months from now! Here is the video of me opening my call:

And some pictures:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Have a Surprise!

Few of you know the personal struggle I have had trying to deal with my papers (more recently, not the overall struggle). I saw all those girls who started their papers after me get their call before me, and it was a tough thing to swallow. To be honest, I probably felt a little abandoned by the Lord because I was feeling sorry for myself. I had finally learned what He wanted me to and I thought my papers were in when another surprise hit me: finding out they hadnt been submitted at all (this was a couple weeks ago: they are submitted!). This has been quite the roller coaster for me and I finally just broke down yesterday.

Yesterday was a moment in history that was extremely special, but more of a disappointment for me when I started to focus on myself. Yesterday was the day that all the Sister Missionaries in Rexburg met at the temple and took pictures for the First Presidency.

All these girls were talking about where they were going and when, and I just stood their awkwardly, not knowing when my call would ever arrive. I had a day of self absorption and pessimism, which I'm not proud of that. I started thinking about everything that was going wrong in my life. I looked at the pictures we took at the temple and I felt like I looked fat. All these 19 year olds that havent waited for years and years like I have already had their call. They knew what language they were going to speak and they could start to plan their lives until the day they left. Honestly, all my thoughts seem a little ridiculous now because of my new found knowledge (wait for it: I will reveal that knowledge), but at the time I was a little depressed. I didnt realize until today that Heavenly Father wanted me to learn one more thing: the power of prayer. I dont usually invest too much in prayer because I can usually do everything for myself. I pray morning and night but it is more of a conversation rather than "I desperately need your help." That changed two days ago when I started to feel so down. I just wanted to be comforted about my papers and waiting even longer than most people. I didnt want to feel like I was this horrible person because I needed to learn all these lessons before my mission while other people didnt. I earnestly prayed to learn whatever lesson it was that He wanted me to learn so that I could receive my call. I prayed for anything and everything I could think of to help me either be okay with waiting longer or to have a softened heart and a contrite spirit.

My prayer didnt seem to be answered until today, when I felt defeated. Isnt that always how it works? We stop trying and our prayers are answered? I was just going to stop thinking and talking about my mission all together when suddenly my bishop told me I WILL BE GETTING MY CALL THIS WEEK!!! I drove home not exactly sure how to feel. I was excited, but also nervous, and for some unknown reason I just wanted to cry. On the ride home, I gave over to all my emotions and screamed at the top of my lungs, cried uncontrollably, and laughed hysterically as I thanked Heavenly Father over and over again that I will finally know where I will be going. I'm actually glad that I went through this experience because it taught me to actually turn to Heavenly Father in my time of need. I cant do everything on my own, especially on a mission.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giving Up Control and Waiting for My Call (Part 3)

My entire life I have tried to control everything. I have had my goals planned and mapped out to achieve them in a timely manner. If things do not work out like I plan then I usually have a back up plan. My point is that I always know what is going on. I do not rely on anyone but myself to get what I want and I have worked hard for what I have. Having that attitude about life was not going to work well on a mission and Heavenly Father knew that, which leads me to the next lesson learned: giving up control.

After the first meeting with the counselor I met with him one more time a week later. The Stake President did not really make it clear what he wanted to the counselor which I believe was because he wasn't even clear about what I needed to learn or why he felt prompted to hold on to my papers. The counselor gave me a talk to read by Elder Oaks called "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall" and some articles about Johari's Window. Essentially we talked about how we handle situations and how some things we do are perceived by others but not ourselves. We all have blind spots and we need to try to be aware of them. The articles he gave me actually helped me to teach my relief society lesson, so more good came out of waiting.

I waited yet another week to even hear from the Stake President, despite my emails and efforts to speed up the process. At this point I had waited an entire month and I was getting beyond impatient. I was supposed to sign up for classes the week before and if I didnt know when I was leaving then I didnt know if I should sign up for classes or not. My school situation was especially different than normal because I had just changed my major to Math Education and in order to do so, had to have a composite minor which does not technically exist. Signing up for classes would be an ordeal and if I turned around to just drop my classes, then I'm not so sure the head of the math department would be so eager to help me yet again when I got back from my mission. I didnt feel like I was supposed to go to school for a semester before my mission anyway, but I wouldnt be able to defer Winter if my call was for after the semester ended. I became more stressed and frustrated as I waited to just hear back from him. I finally decided to stop relying on the secretary and the Stake President, so I called the Stake President and asked him to meet me anytime that day. I would cancel any tutor session I had if he would just find time for me. He told me he was going out of town and that the Secretary had planned to set up another meeting a week from then. I was so mad that I started to cry, and I am extremely ashamed to say that I took out some of my anger with the Stake President. Our call became disconnected in the middle of his sentence, so I put my phone away and broke down in defeat. I was in limbo with everything and I had no idea what was going to happen. How much longer did I have to wait to figure out what was going to happen with my life? Where was I going to be called? When was I going to leave? What could I possibly do until then? All these questions bombarded me and I felt close to drowning.

The next day I went to the temple to seek comfort, and I found more than just that. I was writing in my journal in the chapel when my eyes were finally opened and I understood what I was doing. I thought of the following analogy: Heavenly Father is driving this car down a bumpy road and I'm in the passenger seat. I have no idea what our destination is, but yet I keep trying to jerk the wheel from Him. I see a side road and try to pull the car in that direction. As far as I understand these bumps could be avoided, but Heavenly Father knows the road well and He knows that those small bumps will prepare me for bigger ones in the future. There are times when I can drive, but at this point in time, I need to put my trust in Him. Having faith that He will get me to where I need to be is hard, but important. At that moment in time, I realized how foolish I was acting. I was trying so hard to change the path that Heavenly Father had for me, when I lacked the understanding of how great that path is. The great thing is that the day after I gave up control was the day the Stake President told me he would submit my papers.

That was on November 15th, so I thought I would be getting my call the week after Thanksgiving Break. Too excited to contain myself, I called my mom's Bishop and asked him to look up the status of my papers. Surprisingly, though, he told me that my papers had never been submitted. He had gotten a call from my Bishop saying they were being held up. I called my Bishop to figure out what had happened and he said he would try to figure that out. He talked with the Stake President who gave him the go. So after thinking my papers were in for almost two weeks, they were finally submitted on the 26th of November. I have fasted and prayed to have my heart softened. I have waited for this for so long I just do not want to be disappointed when I open my call. Wherever I am needed, I just hope that I can feel the Spirit testify to me that I am meant to serve in that wonderful land.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The First of Many Lessons to be Learned (Part 2)

Life is extremely unexpected sometimes. We think everything is going to work out in a specific way, but then Heavenly Father intervenes with some sort of lesson we need to learn. When I met with the Stake President I thought he would submit my papers and I would get my call the next week. That was October 14th and it is December 5th so you can see that things didnt go as planned. 

I met with the Stake President and things went great. I told him I knew that I would struggle with companions and that I was working on forgetting myself and serving others. I have a lot of quirks that I need to overcome and the last thing I want is to be another companion's trial. I left our meeting thinking everything was how it should be. That was until the Executive Secretary called me a week later telling me my papers weren't submitted and that the Stake President wanted to meet with me again. Like any other over-thinking girl I jumped to the worst conclusion; he was going to tell me I couldn't go on a mission. This thought tormented me for two days as I waited to meet with him again. I wasn't just tormented, but also frustrated that my papers weren't in and I was not as close to getting my call as I thought I had been.

Our second meeting was not as dramatic as I had imagined, but it was not satisfying my need to control my life either. He told me he wanted me to get a pre-missionary evaluation because he noticed some patterns in my behavior that exposed my OCD side. He wanted to make sure I could handle a mission, at least that was what I understood as what he wanted me to learn. I called the counseling center the next day, and they told me there was at least a week wait. I tried everything I could to get an earlier counseling session, but alas Heavenly Father had other plans. I waited a week and a half to get in, so when I finally got a session I was extremely relieved. I still thought things would work out in some form how I wanted them to: after meeting the counselor he would tell my Stake President I was fine and my papers would be submitted. That, however, did not happen either. I went to the counselor, but instead of telling me I was fine I felt like he was telling me there was something wrong with me. Everything he said sounded like all the qualities I had considered strengths were actually weaknesses, which made me feel attacked. The counselor told me he would need to meet with me at least one more time so that he could figure out what it was exactly that the Stake President wanted. I would have to wait another week. I left his office and went to the temple feeling lost and frustrated, and not at all as excited about receiving my call. 

There are pivotal moments in our life, where we gain understanding that somehow eluded us before. As I stood by the temple looking up at the windows, I realized that I wasnt being picked on. Everyone has strengths that others consider weaknesses, and my personality may completely clash with one of my future companions. This wasn't about me, but about furthering His work, which may be interrupted if I do not know how to handle myself around a companion I clash with. I needed to understand that none of this is about me or how I see things. If I am going to be a successful missionary I need to completely forget about my selfish desires and my quirks so that I may focus on spreading the gospel. (Total wait so far = 2.5 weeks). I will continue this later.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Deciding to Serve a Mission (Part 1)

I have told this story over and over, so I thought it was time to just write it down and explain what has happened regarding my mission from the very beginning. Those who know me generally well should know that I have wanted to serve a mission my entire life, but that desire became more serious when I turned 16. For five years now, I have waited to be able to serve and now that the time is here it seems unreal.

At the beginning of this semester, I thought I had everything worked out in my life. I was enrolled in all my classes and was prepared to serve my mission after Winter semester. I thought Heavenly Father wanted me to get an extra year in of school before I left, so I worked it out to be that way. Fall semester began and I had moved into my apartment, and started all my classes when I realized that something didnt feel right. I was thinking about student teaching and having an Elementary Education career, and I knew that wasnt what I wanted. I love math but if I changed my major to Math Education then it would be a permanent change and I was scared. It had been 2 years since I took Calculus and I dont remember almost anything. As I was trying to figure out what to do, my mom mentioned that maybe I should go on a mission sooner than I planned. I immediately dismissed that thought because I thought I knew what was going to happen in that area. I went to one of my friends from previous semesters and asked him for a priesthood blessing. In my blessing I was told that when I was making my decision it would feel right and I would receive my answer in the scriptures. I went home and opened my scriptures randomly to D&C 4, which contains these verses:

 Therefore, O ye that embark in the aservice of God, see that ye bserve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand cblameless before God at the last day.
 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are acalled to the work;

I thought it was some mistake that these verses were about missionary work, so I ignored it and decided that I should change my major.  Changing your major at BYU-Idaho is hard enough regularly, but once you are past 60 credits it gets even harder and I had 82. I jumped through hoops all day long trying to change my classes and get permission to get everything worked out like it needed to, and the whole time I had this feeling that I wasnt doing the right thing. I tried to push aside the feeling, thinking that it was because I hadnt taken Calculus in so long and for once in my life I might struggle in school. I finally had everything sorted out and knew what classes I needed to take, but as I started to sign up for them, I had this absolute horrible feeling come over me. I struggled with the feeling all night and then decided to drop my classes and prepare for my mission. The second I did so, I was overwhelmed with peace and I knew I was making the right choice. Everything fell into place and I set up my schedule so that I could go to the temple, workout, and tutor everyday. I talked with my bishop, started and finished my papers within a week, and set up an appointment to meet with the stake president as soon as I could (which was one week after General Conference). I dont have time to finish the rest of this right now, so look for part 2 soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crazy Life

I decided it is time for me to start blogging again. School was crazy for a while and I stopped, but I realized today how much I miss it. I started blogging because I thought other people would want to see how funny I am :) but doing things for other people only last so long. I cannot possibly catch everyone up on what has happened this year so I will cut to the basics of the past few weeks. The biggest event would definitely be the drama surrounding my knee so I will start there.

About three weeks ago I was kneeing on the couch and my knee fell through the cushions and hit a metal something in the couch. I didnt think anything of it until I stood up and my knee hurt a little. The next few days it started getting stiffer and harder to bend but I thought maybe I just bruised my knee. My mom told me I should go swimming and do exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles, so after a few days we went swimming as a family. I worked my knee and thought that it would get better, but the days following our swim, my knee became significantly worse for wear. It hurt so bad that bending it became excruciatingly painful so I started to limp around. Mom and I looked it up and figured I had bruised a bone or tore my meniscus, and we thought it would heal with time. After another week the pain moved to my calf as well and I felt like I had a constant charley horse. On Tuesday (two weeks after I hit it) the pain became too much to even walk so I went to the doctor, and let me just say it reminded me why I hate doctor's offices. After spending 3 hours in there and only being attended to for a total of 1/2 an hour, I found out that I had part of a needle in my knee! 
The circle part is the needle in my right knee

The next day (Wednesday) I went to Rexburg to have a consultation with a knee specialist and he scheduled surgery the very next day.  I wish they had done local anesthesia because being put to sleep and waking up in a completely different place, feeling groggy and pain in your knee, is scary as crap. I vaguely remember saying something to that effect to the nurse.  The craziest part about having this needle in my knee is that I have NO IDEA how long it has been there or how it got in there. I have no entry wound and I know I have not hurt my knee for at least 2 years. For the past 4 years I have always had problems with this knee when I run but I had never thought anything of it. This injury is just as crazy as the toothpick I had stuck in my foot for two months when I was a sophomore in high school. After a week of healing my knee feels better than it has in the past three weeks, and it doesnt take effort to walk normal up and down the stairs. My theory on why my knee started to hurt now after having the needle in it for so long is that when I hit my knee on the couch it moved the needle deeper into my soft tissue, toward the bone. Now that it is out, I deeply hope I will be able to start running without my knee acting up. 

Moving on to my wonderful niece Naarya. She will be two years old this coming Christmas Eve and I am so incredibly grateful that I could see her grow. I know I am a little biased but she is the cutest kid on the planet when she isnt being a little stinkpot. Every time she see's my laptop now she asks to dance, meaning she wants me to turn on my music. A while ago I taught Ashtyn how to do the dance to Shakira's song Waka Waka and Ashtyn practiced relentlessly. Naarya watched her quite often and so when we played it this is what happened: 

I love her so much!!! I am more than excited to welcome another niece in November (Miranda is pregnant for those of you who dont know). Lindy's son, Thane, is becoming a little chunkster. He has gained 5 lbs in 2 months! He is super long too and has the most beautiful blue eyes. He looks just like his daddy (Dan calls Thane "his little dude"). 

Thane Elias Schubert
There is another little guy that I wish I knew more about but I will have to wait until the next life. Griffin would be two this year and while life has gone on without him, he has been a significant contributor to the growth and spirituality in my life and in his wonderful parents' life. 

I'm not sure why I thought of this but I want to have a little rant moment: I have quite a bit of food from last semester that I saved and stored in a box. Most of it was in containers or some type of bag, but these formed little to no protection. Everything I put in that box now tastes like stinky nasty laundry soap: not even a good kind! I do not own anything that even smells like it so I have no idea how it happened but now everything in that box is tainted. My chocolate chips are probably the worst, but I'm most upset about my expensive nuts. I think if I had rolled them in cow manure they would taste better than they do now. So dumb! My coconut was ruined too, which if you know anything about me, you know I love my coconut! 

I should work harder on transitioning my thoughts but I'm just going to start into my next topic: tutoring. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking when I switched to elementary education from architectural technology, but I should have been listening to my mom and changed it to math education. I have been a math tutor for 2 1/2 semesters now, and I never knew I could love a job so much. I love helping these girls I tutor understand something that has eluded them for the better part of 15 years. I have lost count of how many times someone has told me that I explain the concepts well, and each time I am filled with a feeling of euphoria because Heavenly Father is teaching those girls through me. I have the opportunity to help someone else in something they find to be a trial and that feeling is beyond wonderful. I just want to end this blog post expressing my gratitude for my blessings. I may not always realize His hand in my life, but when I do I know He has given me more than I deserve.