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Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category

I went through the temple for the first time today.

Source: google.com via Ashleigh on Pinterest

I have been preparing myself for this moment in my life since I was just itty bitty. The temple is a place I’ve been taught to look to as a source of strength and peace. I knew that if I kept myself clean, I would eventually be able to attend and that meant so much to me.

Tina & Marie

Making a visit to the temple. Age 12 or 13.

The long awaited day (TODAY!) finally came and it was so, so good. I experienced such inexpressible feelings of peace, happiness, wonderment, and awe. It was everything I imagined and more. It truly is a holy place.

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It was a completely amazing and beautiful experience and I loved it. I can’t wait to return soon. 🙂

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I’m getting married!!!

Just kidding. Not even close.

For the past year and a half or so, I’ve felt the need to go somewhere far away and have an adventure. First I thought about doing a study abroad. Then I thought about becoming a nanny. Then I thought about just taking a long trip to somewhere far away. Then I thought about working in an orphanage. I seriously considered and researched each of these options but for one reason or another, none of them stuck.

And then it hit me. Go on a mission.

I must admit, that was not exactly the type of adventure I was hoping for.

But that feeling came strongly last December and hasn’t left me since.

It took some time for me to warm up to the idea of serving a mission. Heavenly Father has been so patient with me throughout the past 10 months. He has helped me overcome my fears and concerns and has filled my heart with faith, courage, and love. That’s how I know this is the right thing. It feels so good.

One can imagine how I felt when I heard the announcement yesterday in General Conference about changing the age for sister missionaries. My mom called me at work to tell me and I thought she was kidding, until I could hear the waver in her voice that let me know she had tears in her eyes. I can hardly believe it and I’ve been in shock and awe all day. Needless to say, my day has been filled with many tears of happiness.

So what does this mean for me??

Well, originally I was planning on submitting my papers on October 17th (exactly 120 days before my 21st birthday) and leaving as soon as possible after my birthday.

But now…I can submit them as soon as they are done (the goal is by the end of the week—just one visit to the doctor left!) and I’m changing my availability date to January 1, 2013.

This new change only moves my time up a month and a half, but it means the world to me. So, my papers are going in this week (if all goes as planned) and I’ll be receiving a call in the next few weeks. I am beyond excited!

I trust that the Lord will provide for me and endow me with the power necessary for this calling. I have faith that He will guide and direct me and that when I return home everything will work out the way it is supposed to.

So here I go. I am going to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!

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On Friday I finished my second session of RFG. I really loved all of my girls and loved being a counselor. It was sad to say goodbye, pack up all of my things, and go home.

Meet the girls of Session 2! I fit right in with them 😉

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We made 8-minute cake again and they loved it!

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I took them to the USU Bookstore one day and they loved trying on all of the funky paraphernalia.

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And here they are on our way to the closing social. So darling 🙂

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There is a very special spirit at Retreat. There’s something about having 170+ girls all together learning and growing with each other in the gospel that is simply beautiful.

Going into Retreat I knew that I would enjoy it and that I’d probably learn a few things, but I learned much more than I had anticipated. It’s hard to explain all of my feelings about the experiences I had. At times, it ended up being a little more overwhelming and draining than I expected. During some particularly hard situations, the Lord helped me and blessed me with some very sweet tender mercies, for which I am very grateful.

I have no doubt that I was supposed to be a part of RFG this year. Getting the job was an answer to many prayers and it has been a huge growing experience for me. It was a lot of work but was also completely rewarding. It’s such a fun and inspiring program for both the participants and the counselors and I really hope to do it again next year!

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I haven’t blogged for almost a month and there are two reasons why: 1) I didn’t have any good ideas for things to blog about and 2) I spent a lot of time getting ready for Retreat for Girls (I’ll often refer to it as RFG) and just didn’t have a lot of extra time.

I just finished my first week at RFG and it was SO good! I had 12 girls, ages 11-13, in my group and we had such a fun time together! We played a lot of games, went to classes, sang songs, laughed hard, had devotionals/scripture study, made crafts,  and just spent a lot of time getting to know each other. It was a BLAST!

I’m off for the weekend but I’ll be heading back for another session on Sunday night. I’m really excited to see how this week will play out!

Anyway, take a look at a few pictures from the week!

These are some of my decorations. Our group name was the Ivy League and my nickname was Ivy.
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These are the counselors at check-in.

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We made 8-Minute cake in the microwave!

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The counselors put on a fashion show for the girls. It was a lot of fun! And only slightly awkward…
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The girls loved hearing from John Bytheway and other speakers.

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We spent some time out on Old Main Hill playing games and rolling down the hill.
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My girls made up a cheer/song for me and it was SO cute and funny! It was so creative and made me laugh so hard! (FYI: The elevators in the dorms were REALLY slow so I would usually make the girls take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Also, there were a few times I had to make them run to catch up with the rest of the group because a few of them dawdled a lot and were really far behind us.)

I really grew to love these girls. They were so cute, fun, and sweet. We were able to bond really well and it was hard to say goodbye to my 12 new friends! I will always remember the beautiful spirit that I felt as I spent time with these beautiful daughters of Heavenly Father.

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Father’s Day

I love today because it’s Father’s Day and well, I LOVE my dad.

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But let me tell you something. While I love my dad and love spending the day celebrating with my family, I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness.

The reason for this is because I know many, many people who are spending their day without a father. Those who, for whatever reason, no longer have a father in their lives.

I think of these people and my heart aches for them.

When my dad was sick in the hospital for all that time, I thought (on more than one occasion) that I would soon have to be without him. I have never felt more worried in my life. Since then, I have felt an overwhelming amount of love and gratitude for him. I am reminded on a regular basis of how lucky I am to still have him alive and well. I’m so grateful that for whatever reason, Heavenly Father saw it fit to prolong his life for a while longer. I can’t believe how fortunate and blessed I am.

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Father’s Day means a lot more to me now than it ever has before. Words cannot express my feelings. I have been so very blessed.

And of course, I can’t talk about fathers without expressing the gratitude I feel for my Father in Heaven who knows and loves me. I know that I can turn to Him and He will always be there to help and comfort me.

Happy Father’s Day to all! I hope that everyone has a beautiful day full of love, comfort, and peace and remember that you ALWAYS have Heavenly Father to turn to.

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Go and Bring Them In

As aforementioned, I just spent three days in Wyoming on a pioneer trek. It was quite an amazing experience and I really enjoyed it.

The trip consisted of yummy food, lots of driving, strong winds, square dancing, devotionals, sunshine, stories, lots of water (including flooding), Senior couple missionaries, dirt, testimonies, hiking, campfires, pushing heavy handcarts, and good friends.

I’ll just let the pictures do most of the explaining. It’s more interesting that way.

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Hiking to Martin's Cove

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Brandt, Jessica, and Mike a.k.a. my favorite people ever!

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My awesome Bishop and his wife.

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River crossing

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This picture makes me laugh! I'm totally covering Julie's face. Oops...

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Square dancing!

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Our camp flooded during the middle of the night

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Julie and Jessica leading us in some yoga

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Everyone bowing down to Julie during yoga

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The whole group at Rock Creek Hollow

It was such a wonderful experience and I am so happy I was able to go!

One last thing, the theme for the trek was “Go and Bring Them In” and we focused a lot on the rescuers who went out of their way to save the stranded handcart companies. We applied their stories of faithfulness, obedience, and courage to ourselves and talked about ways that we could “rescue” others and bring them back into the gospel. It was such an inspiring camp and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to go. It was just what I needed for a spiritual boost.

The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life.” —Elder M. Russell Ballard

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Trek Preview

I just spent the past few days in Wyoming on a pioneer trek with my YSA (Young Single Adult) ward and it was such a fun and uplifting camp. The Spirit was with us and we had some really wonderful experiences. I’m going to blog more about it later when I have more pictures, but for now I’ll just post a preview picture.

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My feet, lower legs, neck, ears, and face (especially my nose) got VERY sunburned. I put on sunscreen but wasn’t as careful as I should have been. I have a few blisters and it’s quite painful and icky. 😦 I’m definitely not a fan.

Anyway, when I get more pictures from Brandt I’ll write a better post. Have a lovely Sunday!

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