Saturday, June 29, 2013

not about me

My missionary map is my pride and joy. 
There are 124 incredible people on this map.
Some are home, some have yet to leave, but each one of them is an amazing example to me.
I cannot wait to join this army of missionaries to share this beautiful gospel with others!

Which brings us to exciting news:

One of the perks of having your dad as your home bishop: calling him up whenever you want to know your mission papers status.

I was in Salt Lake City literally half a block away from the building where they make the assignments. Like, I could have walked over there where my papers are right now.
Absolutely incredible to think about.

So that fun announcement means I've spent a few minutes today considering creating a missionary blog.
And basically haven't been able to sit still all day long.
Fun stuff around here.
But that blog won't go live until I, you know, actually have my call.

While I anxiously await for my call to be assigned, I bide my time reading talks and devotionals about missionary work and stalking missionary blogs [see my sidebar].

In my searches today, I came across this quote that I just love. At the press conference following the announcement made by President Monson about the new missionary age requirements, Elder Holland said this:

"God is hastening His work and He needs more and more willing and worthy missionaries to spread the light and the truth and the hope and the salvation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to an often dark and fearful world... 
This isn't about you. 
It is about the sweet and pure message you are being asked to bear."

In all of the excitement of waiting for a call, of preparing to go out into the field, of all the questions of how it will actually be on the mission, or what will happen back at home while you're gone, or just not being able to sit still until you get out there, etc.
There is one thing that we all need to remember: This is NOT about me.

My decision to serve a mission is not about me.
This is about my Savior.
This is about the beautiful truths of this gospel.
This is about the fact that I know this is the true Church on the earth today.
This is about bringing my brothers and sisters back to Christ.
This is about serving my Heavenly Father who gives me so much every single day.
This is about wanting to help others find the peace and joy I have felt because of the love of my Savior.

This is not about me. It never was, and it never will be.
There's a quote that says something along the lines of "If the Church wasn't true, nineteen-year-old boys would have ruined it a long time ago."
This is the Lord's work. We are simply instruments in His hands. We always will be.
And He will not let us fail in this endeavor.
This is about bringing our eternal family back to our Heavenly Father's loving arms.

I could not be more excited, nor could I feel more blessed, to be a part of this incredible work.

My challenge to you all: 
write a missionary this week!
They need the love, the encouragement, and the letter in the mailbox. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

nerding out

I'm kind of a nerd, and I'm completely fine with that.
Besides, being a nerd is totally awesome.
For now, there are two things that I really get nerdy about: my job and movies.

my job.
I have this job as a research assistant for a database of European documents.
That means I not only am increasing my knowledge for future school-related items, but it also means I really really love my job.
I spend several hours a day [except sunday] looking at documents about different European nations.
I am learning to identify different languages, as well as attempting to actually understand them without the help of Google Translate.
Google Translate is my best friend when it comes to Ukrainian and Russian, though.
I dig through the Internet for digitized documents online.
Which means I spend hours just looking at incredible old documents.
     Like old nuclear safety pamphlets from the United Kingdom.
     Or pictures of old Flemish seals.
     Or old Norse tales of Viking conquest.
     SO COOL.
Basically, I absolutely love my job.
I am blessed beyond measure to not only have this job, but to also have a job that directly applies to my major.
And that I just happen to really love the material.

I am quite the introvert when it comes to a social life. nerd alert.
That doesn't mean I spend all my time inside my cave only coming out to eat.
It just means that I have only a few good friends that I spend most of my time with. And I am just fine with that.
The people I do spend time with [occasionally] nerd out with me.
Especially when we're watching movies.
     Like having your mind blown by the ending of the second Sherlock movie.
     Or getting chills from how Wreck-it Ralph is completely brilliant.
     Or when you find out that the voice of Minion in Megamind is also Crane in Kung Fu Panda.
     Or how incredible the animation and visual effects are in the latest Pixar film.
     Or shouting out "You shall not pass!" right along with Gandalf. And everyone else in the room.
The best part is when you can incorporate movie quotes right into your daily conversation.
Dinner with my friends is quite entertaining.
Plus, movies are just a great way to take a break, relax, and escape from reality for a short while.

My family members and most of my friends will probably never quite understand what exactly I love about these things.
They're missing out.  in my opinion.

I just have one bit of advice for you all:
Find something you love. 
Then don't ever be afraid to share that passion with anyone and everyone.
They'll love you for it. Promise.

And this has no relevance, but I saw it the other day and couldn't stop laughing:

My life is a romantic comedy.
Except without any romance and it's just me laughing at my own jokes.

Life is pretty fantastic and hilarious.
Enjoy every minute of it.

back at home: photo dump

I've been back home for almost a month now.
It's been absolutely crazy. But so much fun spending time with the family!
Enjoy the photo dump of events at home.

Nathan's 13th Birthday
My baby brother is a teenager. 
Where does the time go?

guys that is my foot next to my brother's feet. I am surrounded by giants.
or I'm a dwarf. either works.
happy birthday little brother!

Rachel's High School Graduation
Top of her class and they pronounced her name right.
Congratulations on finishing high school Rachel!
Enjoy reality, graduates.

Sunday Afternoons
We believe in Sunday naps.
Though they sometimes occur in strange places...

We also believe in playing games. Constantly.
Preferably in big, comfy sweatshirts [or t-shirts] from BYU.

the most intense game of Jenga ever.
Finally: We believe in Sunday pictures. 
Because we look good. So why not?

Me and my not-so-little little brother. Isn't he the cutest?

Family Camping Trip
Minus Rachel. She's hanging out in Utah helping with my aunt and uncle's kids.
Campsite: Chain-O-Lakes
Elevation: minuscule
It's not the Utah canyon, but we still had a blast.

this happens when you give the girls matches

so. many. games. of. Nerts.
Let's all just appreciate that this happened:
Dad scaring away the terrifying raccoon by banging tongs against a propane tank.
Parent Trap anyone?

pretty sure this is what happiness looks like.
the joys of camping: dishwashing after breakfast
This is Wilmot Mountain.
The local ski mountain.
That is NOT a mountain. That is a sledding hill. 
They even have a chairlift.
My heart aches a little. 
LZ people: you need to get out to Utah at some point in your life to understand that this is NOT a mountain.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Concert
Family outing to Ravinia to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir live!
Probably the most incredible concert I have ever been to in my life.
And I've been to a lot.

Megan and I spend lots of time together at home. She loves it.
Janine from the Y-Serve office at BYU sings in the choir, and I ran into her!
pardon the people covering up the choir.
Father's Day
Shout out to the greatest dad around!
Not sure where I'd be today without his devotionals on common sense, lessons on home repairs, cooking skills [fudgies], learning to not take life too seriously, and the fact that Colgate is the best.

Isn't she adorable? Come and get her boys.
hey, we really do love each other.
Dad ate part of his cake before we sang to him. Silly Daddy.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!!
my adorable parents.
Along with all of these exciting events, I've been working, chauffeuring, studying, preparing for a mission, frequenting the singles ward and institute, and cleaning.

Gotta love the home life.
Thanks for the fun LZ. Be back real soon.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

california girls

Over Mother's Day weekend, me, Lyndsey, and Brittney, ditched Provo to road trip down to southern California!

Our mission:
surprise Devon by showing up at his mission farewell!

Now I am one of those slightly crazy people who absolutely loves road trips. Like a whole lot.
The best part of this one: great friends and there were mountains in view the entire drive.
I have now officially been to Las Vegas and to California. Both are slightly over-rated in my opinion.
We arrived Saturday evening. Sunday morning we headed over to the church building.

Mission accomplished.
Devon was beyond surprised, and he gave a fantastic farewell talk!
Plus, it was mother's day so we got to hear the primary kids sing. Best Sunday ever.

me, Brittney, Devon, and Lyndsey

Monday we all hung out at the nearby lake/beach, watched movies, and basically had a blast.
At the end of the day, Devon was set apart as Elder Watkins!
There goes yet another friend off to the mission field... 
that brings the total to about seventy missionaries that I personally know out in the field. Craziness.
And then we drove right back to P-town on Tuesday.

road trip playlist:
(every great road trip has fantastic music)

"I Want Crazy" by Hunter Hayes
"Highway Don't Care" by Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift
"22" by Eclipse (yes, I'm obsessed. don't judge)
"When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars
and of course...
"Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts

I have now officially been to California, Arizona, and Nevada.
I have also taken a road trip with people other than family members.

Other pictures exist with Brittney and Lyndsey... maybe someday I will actually get them.
All in all, it was an adventurous and absolutely fantastic trip!
Here's to the start of a wonderful summer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

time flies

post from mid-April 2013

The winter is already over.
Evidences of spring are everywhere.
New faces. New roommates. New friends.
Wedding receptions. Seriously I have three just this week. Craziness.

Here are just a few highlights from the past several weeks.

General Conference.
A great weekend of spending time with family and friends. And listening to the prophet and apostles speak.
What's not to love?
most epic conference picture ever.
me and Naticia on the train ride up to the Saturday morning session
So I have kind of a big announcement:


I have decided to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
This means that for eighteen months I will be sharing the beautiful messages of this gospel with others. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve, and I am just so excited! I have finished up my part of the paperwork. Now just a few final things to take care of, then the paperwork will be submitted to church headquarters and I will receive a mission call. More on all of this to come. Hopefully soon!
To learn more about what exactly I plan to do for eighteen months, visit

Skype sessions.
Devon headed back to spend time with his family before his mission. So a bunch of us Skype in order to continue our scripture study group. It is the greatest thing ever.
Seriously. Get a scripture study group going. At home, with friends, in your apartment. Anyone. Anytime. Such a blast!

group call with Devon's friend Allison, his little brother, Devon, and me and Lyndsey
me, Lyndsey, and Devon
I spend a lot of time with Lyndsey. 
We live next door to each other and basically have a party.
If you ever feel the need to relive your childhood, you're welcome to join us for some Hannah Montana.

They say that change is good, but for now, it's a little sad.
Our bishopric was released and our stake presidency was reorganized! 
I have absolutely loved the past eight months with Bishop Murdock, his counselors, Brother Rosenthal and Brother Johnson, and their wives. They are such incredible people and I have been blessed to work and counsel with them.

me, Bishop Murdock, and Sister Murdock
I absolutely love this song.

Nothing else much has been happening.
I babysat my cousins for a night, finished up finals, and helped with a musical number. My job is up to forty hours a week instead of twenty so that should be fun. I'm enjoying the birds chirping and the blooming flowers. Hopefully the cooler temperatures stick around for a while.
The summer is off to a fantastic, busy start!
Remember to smile.