Have you noticed an increase in Mormon missionaries recently? You haven’t yet, give it time. You’re about to get hit with a wave.
For those of you who do not know much about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or “Mormons”, I’ll catch you up on what’s going on. Every six months (April and October), there is a televised “conference” that lasts two days. Three sessions on Saturday (only two are televised over TV stations) and two on Sunday. We call this General Conference. It’s a chance for all members of the church or any one interested to hear from our Prophet, apostles, and other area leaders. Prophet? Yes, prophet. We believe God still puts prophets on the Earth and speaks to his children. This is called revelation. It’s inspiration and direction from God. Everyone is entitled to it.
This past October General Conference, Prophet Thomas S. Monson shared new revelation. Young men can start serving 2 year missions at age 18 instead of 19 as long as they have graduated or an equivalent and young women can serve 18 month missions starting at 19 instead of 21.
I never really saw it in my future to serve a mission. I wasn’t opposed, I just didn’t think I needed to worry about it for a while. However, when the Prophet made the announcement, I knew I was going. It wasn’t anything spectacular, just a knowing. I knew this is what was going to happen. It didn’t even feel new. I wasn’t the only one either. I’ve had friends and family members tell me that I came to mind when they also heard the announcement. Some friends I haven’t seen or talked to for a while.
The next Sunday I started the process. I met with my local leader, filled out questionnaires, met with a doctor, had a dental check-out, TB test, and finally met with my area leader, referred to as a Stake President.
3 weeks later I was told my mission call was assigned. The following Wednesday I got the well-known big white envelope in the mail. I stalked the mailman. I sat at the window and tracked his every movement as he drove past. He somehow was able to sneak the mail into the mailbox without me seeing. Tricky! I think the first person I told was my brother, Bryn. I can not describe the excitement that clouds the opening of the call. Bryn and I tried to figure out if I’d be serving state side or foreign. How thick is the envelope? How much did postage cost/what is the weight? Bryn guessed foreign but I really wasn’t sure.
If you try putting the envelope up to the light or see through the envelope, it’s not going to work. They put a thick white paper on top of the letter with the call. The people at the mission department are smart, although at the time I was thinking they were so mean.
The envelope almost did open prematurely. While on a pizza run, I put the boxes in the back with my call. The steam started to undo the seal of the envelope. Not badly though, just a corner.
Finally, it was time for the opening. Patience is near nonexistence in a situation like this. Even Grandma was about to rip it out herself. The wait seems even longer the hours the actually opening, like forever! Kind of like this post. It doesn’t help that you feel like a chihuahua on crack. The moment the last person came through the door, I was ripping open that envelope.
My dad couldn’t come in person because he had some kind of flu. So he Skyped. Just as I opened the envelope, one of my nieces leaned in front of the Ipad. “Hi Grandpa!” The timing was perfect. I almost waited for her to get out of the way.
The wait had been too long and patience really was non-existent. So I ripped it open and read out loud:
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 Adriatic North Mission.
“What state is that in?” Before a call opening, it is customary to have friends and family guess where the missionary will be assigned. No one came even close. No one had even heard of it. I’m pretty sure I even said it wrong.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center 29 May 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Croatian language.
Thank goodness they give you a little booklet with information. My mission covers Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia. My sister-in-law is Serbian! She was especially ecstatic. The booklet also includes information like what to take, who my Mission President and his wife are and information about them. Map of the Adriatic North Mission
One of my friends and my sister-in-law had already planned my wardrobe. I didn’t get to look through that book until that night. Everyone wants to know about your Mission President and your mission and your guidelines and all such things. By the end of the night, my family and friends probably knew more about my mission then me.
That brings me to a good point. Don’t be frustrated because your lack of knowledge about your mission area. It’s natural that you won’t know much. Don’t worry. Soon you’ll realize you know more than you think. Just when you feel confident about where you’re going, you’ll find you still no nothing at all. But that is the same with any subject.
The choice of which environment you open your call in is personal. Some like big parties with all their friends and relations and the mailman and the random guy at the store, and some prefer to open it by themselves in their bathroom or in a special spot. I, personally, feel that my mission is a very close and personal thing. So I just had my direct family (brothers, sister, in-laws, nephews, nieces, grandma, grandpa, roommates, a couple friends, and a rockin’ awesome young women leader from my young and rowdy days).
My biggest advice would be to enjoy the moment. So it in. It’s pretty momentous to find out where you will be spending 2 years or 18 months on a life changing adventure. So be there. Be present in the moment. I know there are a million people that want to talk to you and people you want to call, but put it on hold. They can wait. If I did anything differently, I would told anyone who called me that I would call them back later. Be with your friends and family. Put that phone and Facebook status to the side for a little while.
Going on a mission is a huge thing! Getting the call is the first step. Honestly, I didn’t care where I was getting called. I still don’t. I decided I was going to serve a mission. A mission is mission, no matter where it is served. It’s the same message and the same purpose.
I started on this journey about 6 months ago. I finally leave next month. I’m still feel like a chihuahua on crack. So if you find a overexcited, nervous, red-headed missionary that can barely spit out any Croatian, it most likely will be me, thousands of thousands of miles away from my home. See you in about a month!
Sestra Farnsworth out!
Blood tests suck.
They just do.
I hate them. It’s not just another irrational fear. No… The feeling is mutual. I have yet to have one successful, uneventful draw.
But a couple weeks ago I had the best blood draw ever! Let me tell you how it went. I had to go see a NP. She said everything was perfectly normal but she wanted to do some “labs” just to be sure. When I think of “labs” I think of test subjects being poked, prodded and submitted to all over unpleasantness. When I coolly asked about the “labs” she confirmed this meant blood tests. Mental image confirmed.
I was not looking forward to it. Last time I had a blood test I could use my arm for two weeks and am now just getting over my “raptor arm”. But that’s a different story. I tried making a break for it but it didn’t work. Darn it! I’m an adult for crying out loud!
I am proud to say that I didn’t cry. But that didn’t keep the other people in the waiting room from looking slightly freaked out. I gave myself the pep talk/brain wash of the century.
Then they called my name.
I hate life.
But after such a great pep talk/brain wash attempt, and since I already used the bathroom excuse, I had to go through with it.
The technician was nice enough. She had red hair like myself. I told (calmly) about my dislike for needles, and to a greater extent blood tests. She told me how she had a bad experience once and that she use to not like blood tests either. So there’s hope for me!
After looking at my arm, she told me the source of all my problems. One of them shared. There is nerve really close to my vein. In addition, my tendons are like RIGHTTHERE. I would assume everyone has those next to their vein, but apparently mine are more buddy-buddy than all you. In summary, just about anything that could go wrong with a blood test has gone wrong. The technician was so nice and seemed to know what she was talking about so I just chilled back and relaxed.
I was thinking about how proud of myself I was and how well I was doing when I hear my name. This wasn’t like a “Good job!” or “Hey! You’re done! You did it.” There were two technicians saying “Are you there?” “Are you okay?” “How’s your stomach?”
My stomach? Then I realized something. I couldn’t see them. I could barely hear them. Dang.
I tried to brush it off. Not possible. I had slid in my seat to almost laying down position. I couldn’t hear and could barely see. It’s hard to be graceful like that. “Cough from the bottom of your stomach” What? “I know it’s weird but just do it.” Any grace I had remaining was gone. I sounded like a dying raptor.
I was then told that they needed more blood from me. Are you serious? At least they gave me the option of waiting a day or two.
When I could finally see again we moved to room with a reclining chair. It took my technician a while to figure out how to get to recline, and even then they had to put my feet up on a box. “Keep coughing.” Sure. What else could I lose. “If possible, you should just go home and sleep it off. ” Deal.
Advice I got for the future is to lay down for the blood draw. I also found out I have a brother with a similar problem. He’s no wimp either! He’s a big, buff, scary, Navy guy. I also found out whenever he asks to lay down for the test, they say things like “Oh you’ll be fine.” This doesn’t bode well for my future.
By the way, I tried just laying down for while when I got home. I ended up being down the day. Every time I got up, I want to keel over. That’s also when my stomach started acting up.
And that is my best experience with a blood test. Ever.
P.S. I never had to go back. I guess they had enough blood. Vampires.
As some of you dear followers/readers know, I am involved with a youth leadership organization. We are current planning the next summit.
I need your ideas. Any ideas. We are looking for a service project. We want to do something close to home, a local issue. If you have any ideas or whims then PLEASE post it in the comments. Right now we’re leaning towards Homelessness.
This can include illiteracy, hunger, underprivileged-ness, ANYTHING!
Please, please, please, PLEASE help!
In case you didn’t know, the most powerful man in the world has retired from what is usually a life long occupation. No, I’m not talking about Bill Gates. I’m talking about the Pope!
I have a cousin who at this time was not my cousin yet, he’s a recent addition to the family. By choice. Weirdo. He brought up the topic of the Pope around the Sunday dinner table by announcing ”I suppose you’ve all heard I’m running for Pope.”
His fiance: “What?! What does that mean for me?”
Me: “Can Mormon’s even be Pope?” (See answers at the end of this post)
Not long after my mom and I were walking out of her garage when she saw these stacks of old political signs. Vote for Education Board Person You Will Never Here About Again and such things. My dad is politically active so we have a few of these. That’s when I got a new chore on my “to-do” list that I probably will never do again.
For those of you at home who would like to increase the “Dave for Pope” effort, feel free to follow along at home.
2 old lawn signs (with white backs)
Marker (Black shows up best, but if you want to add color, then go for it!)
Tape the lawn signs back to back the the white sides facing out. You may desire to clean the dirt off, if there is any. If you do this make sure your sign is dry before you write on it. (I didn’t clean mine off. Nobody will really notice if it’s clean or not.) In big(ish) letters write DAVE FOR POPE. Then walk down the street as if it was normal to be carrying a double sided DAVE FOR POPE sign in a neighborhood that is strongly of another denomination. Don’t get caught by postmen. Place sign on lawn. Wait. Play innocent. Then ta-dah! You’re done! Don’t forget to take a picture and spread it onto the social media.
Aftermath: Remember how I said Dave was my soon-to-be cousin? His wedding was that weekend. That meant his mother was coming into town. In fact, he went to pick her up THAT DAY. And she was staying with him!
My cousin was very worried about it. She called me (which I missed because I was in the thrawls of laundry). She talked to my mom. The best part, she even called RoommateCousin thinking she had something to do with it. (I did send her a picture so she could share in on the joke. She new about it before our cousin did.) The truth is, I was just the foot soldier carrying out orders. It was my mom’s idea and my dad’s supplies. Family business!
(If I was a crafty graphic designer, here is where I would put the family business card)
Dave’s mom loved it! In fact, when we met later for dinner she already knew me by name. …And reputation.
DAVE FOR POPE!
Oh! The answers! Don’t let me forget! (you almost did, didn’t you? That’s okay. Me too.)
“Can a Pope be Mormon?” Seeing how the Pope is the head of the CATHOLIC church… no.
“What does that make me?!” Some Popes have been happily married. Which reminds me…
Remember the prank war that was started (and won by yours truly) last year? After a truce with the opposing apartment and the arrival of summer, things were put at a halt.
Even with the return of Fall and old friends, the pranks rested in peace. This is probably due to romance and tensions (because in all good stories, those go together). That is until…
BAM! Master Goldie yells from the kitchen! Someone had died her beverage of choice! (It was either orange juice or milk.I cannot recall.) And she knows exactly who did it. It was those terrible boys!
Apparently I was absent from a conversation our apartments had about pranks, and the boys struck a lot sooner then expected. Lucky for us, our new addition of Master Goldie means not only are we back in full blast, but back with a vengeance!
Instead of waiting, we retaliated immediately. After our religious meetings we sent a friend over to see if they were home. He reported that weren’t there. Master Goldie recruited me and San Diego to go with her. We knocked on their door again to make sure no one was home.
Now it was business time. In order to pull off our trick, we had to get inside their apartment. I’ve had experience with this so I began to lead this phase of the mission. Our windows have only a little part that slides open (It’s a little over half a foot wide.) Our objective was to pull this part out, take out the screen, and fit the smallest person through (It’s quite the sight to see a well grown man try to squeeze his way through).
While in the process of lifting the window pane up and out, the blinds began to draw up. Luckily I was standing to the side, so I was able to make my swift get away and laugh at Master Goldie who was situated right in front of the window. I guess the boys were expecting us. They sure got our hearts racing. I was able to play off like I was an onlooker. To add to our embarrassment, there were bystanders.
I soon left for dinner with the family and by the time I returned the deed was done (with the help of an inside man). What is it we did? If you look closely at the picture, you will notice their lock is backwards. This means anyone walking by can lock them into their own apartment. Well done Master Goldie. Well done.
Soon after that we sent the message home by covering their apartment windows, door, couch and microwave with newspaper. (It was about time we got rid of all that newspaper in our apartment).
It hasn’t even been a year yet since the first prank. May the odds be in our favor.
Yes, I’ve been quite absent from this blog and I’m sorry. Hold fast folks! I already have a few more posts lined up. And one is very delicious. Oh!
But for this post I shall share a little insight, a little discovery, and a fun little story! So hold on tight!
Parachute, All-American Rejects, and Boys Like Girls
I finally went to another concert. Did you know it has been TWO WHOLE YEARS since my last concert? (I guess Neon Trees is just that good.) This last one was very well worth the wait. It probably helped that I was with my concert-going-buddy and partner in crime, Rachel! (Remember her?)
As with most adventures with Rachel, there were lessons that were learned. One of which, is the obvious value of education. Sounds boring, right? BUT WAIT! It’s actually interesting! It was especially obvious to see the difference between Parachute and All-American Rejects.
Parachute did a phenomenal job! They could possibly be my new band crush. Almost up there with One Republic (Sorry boys! You’ll just have to duke it out I guess). Because I’m a poor college student, I am currently listening to them on Spotify. Their music seems so well put together, there seems to be a certain eloquence to it. And they can actually sing!
Parachute is classy. (When I say someone is classy, that is a very high compliment.) The way they interacted with the fans, you would have thought we were all school chums. They obviously where having good fun. Which would make sense since they all went to college. I could just go on and on about my new love. You may know them from this song.
Then you had All-American Rejects. Uh… They were alright. Imagine the stereotypical punk rock show and you have it there. Nothing too spectacular or impressive. The lead singer and one of the guitarists was signed onto a record company when the lead singer was 16 and a junior in high school. And it shows.
Don’t get me wrong! I do enjoy their music. That’s why I went. But it was obvious the difference a college education makes. Even a little bit. I graduated high school when I was a 16 year old junior in high. The brain grows and develops after you stop going to school. However, there is a distinct impression made from formal schooling. Weird, eh?
It was also funny to see how the band and mostly Mormon fans interacted. It’s hard to explain, but fascinating to watch. If your a musician coming to Utah (Provo/Orem), you should do your homework. Most people remember this song from way back when.
Now that we’ve looked at how education leaves an impression on people (classy vs proud white-trash) Boys Like Girls comes in to shed a little light on the case. I absolutely loved them! These boys now how to rock. They just seemed to know what they were doing, everything flowed together splendidly, and the reason why I love concerts was tattooed onto my brain.
There’s just something about live music. When a band can really play, a singer can actually sing, and you can rock with them, you develop a new tie to music. Nothing can replace it. You just have to experience it. Just like life education. It doesn’t even have to be formal education, because we all know wisdom and understanding come from experience. The lighting and energy brought so much life to the concert! What if you could do that with the world? Just a thought.
So maybe I’ve been hitting the research article too hard. All in all, the concert was amazing! I can’t hear as well and I’ll probably have sings stuck in my head for the next month (I still have this song in my head from Boys Like Girls, along with so many of their other songs), but it was so worth it! Now for story time! I think this may have even been better then the last college concert I went to.
Will Anderson, Parachute’s lead singer, told a little story about visiting the universities library earlier that day and taking the last seat available, thus stealing it from another student.
Today I was at the event center where the concert took place, and I thought Hey! Why not stop by the library too? This idea was encouraged by Rachel (who also has developed a band crush on Parachute). By using my built in greatness detector I tracked down where Will Anderson sat. I would then proceed to sit on whoever was sitting there and debate on whether or not to tell them why I was sitting on them. This is what would have happened if my common sense didn’t kick in and if I didn’t have close to run to. BUT BE WARNED library dwellers. When I become a rockstar…
Be the life of the party!
Boys Like Girls: http://www.boyslikegirls.com/ (They’re coming out with a new album soon! I can’t wait!)
My friend Rachel recently had a sister return from a two year sojourn in Italy (or a mission, as most people would call it). Rachel’s family has a little tradition that before a child returns from their mission, their room gets a little make over.
Rachel became the appointed designer, and I became the partner in crime. I discovered that I LOVE painting! No wonder my older brother loves his job building and designing sets. If I could come home everyday, clothes spattered with paint, and paint on my nails, and pay my way through college, I’d be happier then a pig in mud!
I also enjoyed the project itself. It’s pretty cool to make something that can be enjoyed by others. So for those of you who would like to also experience the fulfilling feeling of accomplishment that comes from beautifying your space, here are some tips for you to make your painting project go smoother. As a couple young adults, we learned a lot.
TAPING- Probably the most important part of making a graphically pleasing design.
- For straight lines, use a string and follow it. This trick is especially helpful when it comes to painting walls with windows.
- Turtle Tape (“Green Tape”) works better than painter’s tape (“Blue Tape”). If you want to know why, ask your local home depot worker in the paint department, because I can’t remember.
- If doing more than one color of stripes, write what color the strip needs to be on the tape in multiple places.
- For crisper lines, use a scrapper (a hand spatula will work) on the entire tape before painting. If you forget you will probably end up with splotches like this.
CLEANING- Painting is a messy job. If you’re accident prone it’s important to know the most efficient methods of clean up. It’s also extremely important in maintaining your supplies.
- Clothing- wear comfortable clothes that can get permanently dirty. Especially if your messy like me. Wear clothes that fit. If your pants won’t stay up, get a belt or change your pants. wear a shirt that stays down. You don’t want to be constantly re-adjusting your clothes.
- Clean out your brushes whenever you’re taking a break. Just do it. If you don’t you will ruin your brushes. Your brushes are probably your most important tools. Treat them as such.
- When cleaning paint that gets on the wall where you don’t want it: Paper towels work better than your hands, bandannas work better than paper towels, and wet paper towels work better than bandannas. In fact, wet paper towels will be your best friend. Wet wipes work too, but they tend to leave faint smudges behind.
- Carpet- Just decide ahead of time to get a new one. It makes the process easier.
- Cans- use dry paper towel to clean the lip and don’t be afraid to get your hands wet with paint. make sure you get paint out of the crannies. Just use or make a corner with the paper towel.
- Tape- when done with the tape, don’t stick it in the garbage bag just yet. It will stick the opening close if you do. Just stick it all in a pile. Afraid to get paint on your carpet? Put the pile on towels.
- Drips- If paint drips, clean right away.
RANDOM TIP: Leave access paint in the paint try. Peel it off when dry and drop on the carpet. It will look like someone spilled paint. Hilarious!
PAINTING- Just some good things to know.
- Second coats are magical. Don’t worry if your first coat looks terrible. The second coat works wonders.
- Try not to buy paint brushes that are too big.
- When painting, turn your brush so the broad side faces the adjacent wall and stroke vertically.
- If paint drips, clean right away.
- Use something to push carpet out of the way when painting the moldings. This isn’t just to save the carpet, it keeps carpet fibers out of the paint.
- Leave plenty of time for paint to dry between coats. Even if you’re just doing stripes. 30 mins was plenty for us. Enough to catch up on an episode of your favorite TV show.
- If there is water damage,fix it before painting over it.
OTHER TIPS- Wisdom I can remember that should prove useful
- Make sure you have plenty of time to paint. It took us a couple solid weeks. We also work and have social duties.
- It’s more fun with friends.
- Have a good music mix, but nothing that makes you move too much. You don’t want to fling paint every where.
- Painting is addicting. Did I mention I love it?
- As with all things in life, confidence is key. You can do this!