Friday, July 26, 2013

getting closer...


In preparation for leaving on a mission for eighteen months, I've been cleaning out my life.
Well, my life according to my closet.
Boy did I find some good stuff.

"Trading cards" my fourth grade class made for me when I moved away.
My childhood as defined by my favorite computer games.

The secret code cards from those adorable Mary Kate and Ashley mystery books.
Every single get well card from the past ten years.

Trophies from when I actually participated in elementary school.
Terrifying picture.
Trophies from that one year I did soccer, and then Reflections program trophies.
All for participation of course.
Old school projects. Like an eight-generation pedigree chart.
Several cheesy Disney snow globes.
About four thousand stuffed animals. All those get well gifts make for an epic stuffed animal collection.
fluffy bunny, awkward dog, and fancy bears.
my personal favorite.
medical bears.
another personal favorite: the fluffy duck.
Young Women handouts and trinkets. Those were the days.
Old pictures. Awkward pictures. You name it, it was in my closet.
The fake pansies from a Young Women in Excellence event.
Several dolls. Even a Barbie that makes a twinkling, magic sound when her right arm moves.
The porcelain doll I named Clarisse.
After the porcelain doll D.W. (from Arthur) borrowed from her grandma.
The paper mache angel I made that won some art contest in eighth grade.
Bracelets and necklaces from aunt's and cousins' wedding receptions.
Exciting medical technology. Like biopsy tweezers and this lovely mask from radiation.
so hot.
Horse everything. Charms, pillows, paintings, pictures, necklaces, books. Everything. I was obsessed.
The family history chart I made when I was eight years old.

A poster of my favorite things from when I was six and stuck in the hospital. Read and enjoy.
[I even remember making it with the Child Life lady. Fun times in the pediatric hospital.]

And Rachel came across this gem of a picture of me from our trip to Disney World when I was seven years old. If nothing else, I hope this makes you laugh today.

Keep on smiling and laughing today.
At least you aren't in a tutu.

recently in LZ

I have been back at home for about three weeks now.
A whole lot has happened since then.
Most importantly, I got my mission call. Greatest day of my life thus far.

Along with that, I've been cleaning, running errands, writing missionary letters, going on adventures with the family to Wisconsin, having temple prep lessons, organizing, and studying Preach My Gospel like none other.
And trying to survive the humidity.
It's good to be home.

Greg and Wendy and their family came and visited us on their Church history road trip.
Our adventures included: Legos at home, a downtown trip to the aquarium, Hershey store, Lego store, and American Girl store, Chicago traffic, and sleepovers with the girls.
Good times.
Love my city.
we love chocolate.
These two boys were fascinated by everything at the aquarium. Even that tortoise that hasn't moved for weeks.
Love them to death. 
He's my favorite. Jon loves Legos a whole lot. 
We've also been undergoing some home renovations.
First we got new carpet.
And now it's our driveway. The deck is next week.
Pictures for those of you who care.

We dug out the asphalt and had that bothersome curb cut down to actually meet the street.
No more driving over a tree to pull into our driveway! 
And they filled it all in.
The finished product!
And that about sums up life here in LZ.
Hope your summer is as wonderful as mine is so far.

little stories

I helped my grandparents unpack some boxes back when they were moving into their new Utah house.
And we found this entire box of napkins. Paper napkins. That Grandma saved.

Visiting baby Zachary before he had his trach. What a trooper.

You have to read this.
"The Flu" by Rachel Holbrook
One of the greatest get well cards ever.

That one year dad got a third waffle maker for Father's Day.

My first grade picture is now a meme.
I have nothing more to add.

The Center for Service Spring Symposium. This is one of good friends, Weston. He sucked me into the Center, has been a fantastic teacher and leader to me and his other PD's, and we're all going to miss him. He's off to dental school, but he'll probably just miss us all too much and end up coming back.

The adventure mom and I had after a visit to the doctor's office downtown.

Greatest popcorn in the world.
They must inject steroids or something into that stuff.

independence day

[thoughts from July 3rd, 2013]
Tonight I was watching a fireworks show and listening to the "Stars and Stripes" march.
And I started thinking.

About how July 3, 1776 might have been.

Just the day before, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.
That day must have held quite a bit of emotion.
What these Founding Fathers were planning to do was considered high treason by England.

Thomas Jefferson - the writer and mastermind behind the Declaration.
John Adams - one of the leaders in the strive for independence.
Benjamin Franklin - arguably the most brilliant mind of his era.
Charles Carroll - the keeper of the clue, "the secret lies with Charlotte." Anyone? Never mind.

Fifty-six men signed their names on this now-historic document.
I admire their courage and their dedication to building up this incredible country.
I am so grateful for their willingness to fight for what they believed in, despite the fears they may have had concerning the consequences of their actions.

I love America.
Thank you, Founding Fathers.

Lovely spot at Thanksgiving Point gardens
Rachel's face when the trumpets started playing one of her favorite Sousa marches.

good times in p-town

So there was this time when I went home and just kind of stayed there.
For a month.
I came back to the lovely Provo to pack up my apartment, move out officially, and get everything set to leave for eighteen months.
I will be back home for the rest of the summer getting ready for the mission.
Here are the adventures of my two week stay in my home away from home.

Explored the Milwaukee airport. Quite a lovely experience actually.

Day with Rachel. This included walking around the entire BYU campus, going to a friend's wedding reception, a drive up the canyon, a late night visit to the Edwards.
her future home. Man I miss freshman year.
Bridal Veil falls. and some adventurous kids. 

love her.
Volunteering at Summer New Student Orientation. Love the little freshman.
But seriously: get involved with Y-Serve while you're at BYU. Best thing ever.

Missionary Broadcast. Absolutely incredible meeting!
Along with some quality time with my friend, Marian.

Sunday drive by the Provo Temple. And a beautiful sunset.

An interview with my Stake President to finally submit those mission papers.

Watching and studying other devotionals and talks. Like this one by Elder Holland.

Exploring Fairview, Utah with grandparents and finding a few common ancestors.
Selfies: what happens when grandpa has an iPhone and his two grandkids are stuck in the backseat on a long drive.
we found them!
And then watching the Manti Pageant.

Training new Center for Service Program Directors.
Again: Y-Serve is the greatest.

Dinner and the Despicable Me 2 premiere with Rachel, Clark, and Steven. Fantastic movie!

Visiting baby Zachary, hanging out with Steven, and baptisms at the Jordan River Temple.

Lunch with the Champion family. Basically the sweetest kids ever.

photo cred: Lionell.
Dinner with the Pettitt's. Loved catching up with them!

And of course, the more menial things like running errands, packing up my life, and getting a haircut.

Until October Provo. 
I'll miss you. Just a little.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

called to serve

After anxiously waiting for the mailman to arrive for an entire week...
        And then having my Dad receive a big white envelope that I was hoping was for me....
                 And after having my bishop (well, my dad) confirm that it had indeed been sent.....


I was sent to the mailbox for the umpteenth day with my own paparazzi behind me, and there was finally a large white envelope from Salt Lake addressed to "Sister Lauren Renee Holbrook." That's me!

hooray for sisters with smart phones! 
I opened the call later that night. Rachel invited a few school and church friends over, I got the family set up on the phone and via broadcast, gave out photography and video assignments, and then it was time!

drum roll please....

"Dear Sister Lauren Holbrook,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president."

Basically one of my favorite places on the planet.
AND I only have to survive one hot, desert summer there. Perfect timing.
And I'm really excited about the mountains. 

my mission boundaries
The rest of the evening was spent talking with friends and family and sharing the news with pretty much everyone on the face of the planet. I'm a little excited, ok?
And we took a lot of pictures. Of course.

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love this gospel with all my heart! I am thrilled that I will be able to share the wonderful messages of peace and joy with others. I love my Savior and am honored that I would be entrusted with such an incredible calling.
I can't wait to get started!