Monday, September 9, 2013

Homegirl LOVES mail

Letters/packages will be well-loved.

UNTIL 9/25/13:
Sister Lisa Hamilton
SEP25 OR-EUGE
2007 N 900 E Unit 72
Provo UT 84602

AFTER 9/25/13:
Sister Lisa Hamilton
Oregon Eugene Mission
55 W 29th Ave Ste A
Eugene, OR 97405

EMAIL:
lisa.hamilton@myldsmail.net

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Till We Meet Again


Wow. I don't even know where to begin. Today was *spectacular*

I woke up early this morning s t r e s s e d . I was supposed to speak in church, and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say. I had written a talk (multiple, actually). Nothing seemed right. My heart was heavy. 10 minutes before walking out the front door for church, I knew I couldn't use anything I had written. I prayed. I prayed hard. And, just as He did when He asked me to serve a mission, Heavenly Father asked me to take a deep breath, step to the pulpit, and trust him.

As church began, my heart raced. And then a member of the stake presidency walked in *gulp*  Talk about nerves. Here I was, minutes from giving my farewell, and I had no idea what I was going to say. And then...
THE LIGHTS WENT OUT
"Okay, okay, I get it," I thought. "I won't give the talk I prepared. You didn't have to cut the lights to keep me from reading it." Then again, maybe He did. I can be pretty stubborn; He knows that best of all.

After singing a hymn in the dark, the lights turned back on and the congregation all gasped in delight. How great it is to bask in His light in a well-lit chapel.

After all the excitement of the lights going out and a wonderful talk by Sister Bonnette, a convert, a returned missionary, and a mother of 4? 5?, I made my way to the pulpit. Although I didn't have the words I should speak written down, the words flowed freely from my mouth. Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me. "Let go of control, Lisa" He implores. "Let me speak through you. Let me give you the words you should speak." And when I do that, when I relinquish control, He takes over. I bore testimony of the things I know, and as I did, my testimony grew. Instead of a heavy, stressed heart, I had a warm, full heart - enlarged with testimony.

Throughout the entire day, my ward family enveloped me in arms of love and prayers of support and encouragement. From notes of well-wishing to beaded bobby socks (my childhood fave), they showered me with love. I have an entire journal full of written testimonies, words of advice, and encouragement and lots and lots of love

Following church, we had a potluck linger-longer. Several returned missionaries from the ward shared mission stories and gave me advice. The primary children (and, might I add, we have a vivacious group) sang "I hope they call me on a mission!" with vigor and vim, and then overran me with the most ginormous group hug I have ever taken part in <3

My last surprise of the day was a video. A hilarious parody put together by the youth and their leaders about "Lisa's first day in the field". It was the best!

My heart is full. My cup runneth over. I am so blessed to be part of a wonderful ward family. But even more than that, I am blessed to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And, even more than that, I am blessed to be a daughter of the King.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keeping the Post Office Alive

I'm a firm believer that law offices and Mormons keep the US Postal Service in business. The mail I send at work? B-O-R-I-N-G! Missionary mail? SO FUN!  I've been meaning to send Hermana Megan and Hermana Alena some special surprises, but last week I finally shipped them out. I knew it was now or never because 2 weeks from today I'll be on a mission too. *Fingers crossed* that they loved their mostly dollar store surprises.

homemade polka-dot bows
homemade striped bows
LaffyTaffy isn't very yummy...but I LOVE the jokes!
sidewalk chalk! Shelly (RM) suggested this one
squishy things

imagining Alena with this duck bill...HAHAHA
I wonder if Meg's comp will hate me for this one...
racers

finger rockets
gummy fish
just need to add a couple letters
<3

 Hooray for missionary work! Hooray for mail! Hooray for imagining happy faces when a surprise arrives!

Monday, August 26, 2013

16 days...

After a summer of sloth-like time, time has finally decided to pick up its pace. Unfortunately, now it's moving at lightening speed. With 16 days and counting until I head off to the MTC, things are getting a little crazy around here. I feel woefully unprepared - I NEED MORE CLOTHES. And a coat. And a loofa. And a couple more shots (the news that nearly ruined my day today - my last Tdap expired at the end of July :( worst news of my life *insert lots of overly dramatic sighs*). And the over-achiever in me has convinced myself that I need to have Preach My Gospel memorized by the time I go to the MTC (exaggeration...but I do feel a lot of pressure to learn as much as I can. This is a good pressure though - a motivating pressure).

In the midst of all the craziness and stress, Heavenly Father sends me little reminders that I need to stop stressing and get EXCITED!!!! He knows me so well :)

Last night, the house phone rang. Liv answered because she's pretty much the only one who gets calls on the land line. She walked into my parents room where I was laying on the bed in my new muumuu (which nobody is as excited about as I am...COME ON PEOPLE!! IT'S A MUUMUU!!!!) She handed me the phone shocked that a boy was calling me. Gasp. "Hi! This is Elder ...(I forget) from the Oregon Eugene Mission calling to welcome you to the best mission on earth!" WOOOHOOO! After a brief conversation, I informed my family who "the boy" was. Mom was very relieved. She thought that maybe, despite my best attempts at avoiding all not temple and/or service related YSA activities someone had gotten my number and was calling to ask me on a date.

Today's tender mission mercy came in the mail: a little package from my Aunt Becky. Inside a small white bag, wrapped in tissue paper, was this little pin
It was my Grandma Hamilton's. Aunt Becky said it was in Grandma's jewelry box for as long as she can remember. When she came across it, she said it was almost as if Grandma whispered, "That is for Lisa." I'm to take it on my mission, to remember my grandparents, the "convert pioneers" in my family. I absolutely love this little pearl covered pin. It simply could not be any more perfect. Fleur de lis to remind me of Louisiana and it will be such a great conversation starter to tell others about family history! <3 Thanks Grandma.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Playing House

For the past two and a half weeks, I had the pleasure of playing house while a couple from church went on a European vacation. Can a person be a professional house-sitter? If so, sign me up!!! Okay, rewind. I was mostly there to dog sit. The house and car were just perks of the job.




I've never been a huge dog person...until now. I WANT A DOG. Whaaaaaaat? I know, shocker. I fell head-over-heels in love with Molly (the beautiful pup I stayed with). She is the most well-behaved and loving creature ever. I didn't even mind picking up her poop <<<< evidence of my love for her.

It was fun to have a nice car and fancy house all to myself, but now its back to reality. Sleeping on an inflatable mattress in my eleven year old sister's room and getting chauffered around in mom's minivan. Oh, life. I love it. And I'm going to enjoy every last minute of this cramped apartment living, because in just 30 days (eeeeeek!) I'll be moving back across the country to start my 18 month adventure as Sister Hamilton.





...I obviously haven't messed with my blog recently. Half a month after writing this post, I'm finally adding the pictures and hitting "publish".

Friday, August 2, 2013

Where to start...


You know those CarMax commercials with the "start here" line that shows people where to start when looking for a new car? Yeah, well I need one of those "start here" lines for this post. It's my own fault; this is what I get for going nearly a month without blogging.

July brought a fun visit with Josh and a last minute weekend roadtrip to Indiana. Both were a ton of fun despite being sick. Both are worthy of a full blog post all their own. Unfortunately, I'm probably too lazy to ever get around to it.

Oh, but it's not all laziness! I'm also prepping for the mission, which is quite an ordeal. Who knew I'd need to buy so many things? And don't even get me started on the overwhelming amount of material I need/want to learn before I go! The days are slowly, but steadily, ticking away. I know that September 11 will be here before I know it.

So, I apologize for blowing off the blog. But I'm trying to prep and make a million nephew memories before I leave. Priorities.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Soldier Brother


Meet Josh. Brother. Son. Uncle. Protector. Tackle Mountain master. Teaser. Biker. Soldier.

Last Sunday, I met a woman who had recently lost her soldier son (temporarily - life doesn't end with death, and neither do families). As I listened to her story, I couldn't help but be grateful that Josh isn't deployed at the moment. In fact, I get to see him next week!!!! I'm just a tad excited ;) Only a few months ago, I thought Josh was going to be deployed. He was going to come visit before he left, and I was full of mixed emotions. I was rather upset/scared to have him overseas (and my roommate's boyfriend broke up with her the same day I found out he was scheduled for deployment...our room was real fun that day). But I was also suppppperrrr excited to get to see him before I leave on my 18 month mission in September. When his deployment was cancelled, so was his visit. Or so I thought. But then my fabulous big brother shocked me by announcing that he would fly down to Louisiana from Alaska for a quick visit next week. SO. EXCITED.

Josh is pretty BA (bad...awesome?). He can certainly kick some hiney, but to me he's just my big brother.

He's smart.


He has a great shot. (still true - future boyfriends beware)




He's really good at scaring away cats.

video

He's also a talented dancer.

video

Not to mention he's a roller coaster tycoon.


Occasionally he plays dress up.



And he's almost always silly.


But always, always he's my big brother. And when you have a soldier brother the 4th is just a little sweeter, because you aren't just celebrating Independence Day - you're celebrating how awesome your big brother is.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hello my name is Lisa


Back at school, I wore a name tag at work. A nifty little golden residence life tag that announced to the world that my name is "Lisa". Sometimes I would forget I was wearing it, and it would catch me unawares when people would "know" my name; however, I would (usually) quickly remember my name tag and remind myself that the general population at BYU does in fact know how to read.

I don't wear a name tag now. Now I sit at my little receptionist desk with absolutely nothing announcing my name to the world. For this reason, it is much more alarming when someone knows my name without me telling them. Like the Sheriff. I'm still baffled that he always calls me by name when he comes into the office. I have absolutely no recollection of ever telling him my name. Also, I have no idea what his name is...and he wears a name tag. And then today the postman boy said my name! I was shocked. How are all these people figuring out my name?

Then it hit me. I sign my name every time we receive certified mail. DUH.

Still racking my brain for an explanation about the Sheriff. So far all I have is that I must have told him one day and then forgotten entirely.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sometimes I think Satan interferes with computers

Computers are absolutely wonderful tools that can be used for good, but I'm pretty convinced Satan likes to toy with computers just to frustrate good work from going on. I'm not talking about pornography (although that is certainly a way Satan fools people into using the internet for evil purposes). No, today I am talking about something that affects us all. I'm talking about when computers are slow and obnoxious. Is the impatient tone of my thoughts translating into this writing? GRRR.

Today I decided to use my spare time to do a little family history work (it's addicting in the best possible way). Things were going great! I found so many family members - even a set of twinners :) And then it happened...the site stopped working. Every time I do a search it tells me the site is experiencing technical difficulties and to try back later. Frustrating. I just want to find everyone right now!!! Okay, patience isn't my strong suit - especially when I'm excited. And family history definitely makes me excited.

So look Satan, I get it. I know you don't want me to use the internet for good. I'm sure you really hate it. But here's the deal, I'm just going to blog about it (which is journal/record keeping so it's following the prophet's counsel) until the site comes back up. You're gonna have to work a lot harder if you want me to stop. Not that I'm challenging you. Really you should just go take a nap or something and leave me and FamilySearch.org alone.


Families can be together forever.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Caution: Showers May Result in Injury

It is not exactly uncommon (not that it happens all the time, but it happens often enough that it isn't shocking) for me to get overheated, especially in the shower. It doesn't take much. For example, yesterday I simply forgot to turn the fan on and, before I knew it, BAM! Overheated.When I get overheated, I get realllll tired and a little dizzy. The result is often me sprawled out on the bathroom floor until I can cool down enough to get up and get a cool glass of water. Benefit of being at home when this happens? I can call for mommy to bring me water and a popsicle. Score.

My first car, lil baby car, truly understood my problem with overheating. In fact, lil baby car was pretty well known for getting overheated herself. It was one of the many things we had in common. When I left for school, lil baby car got a new owner - Mercy. I never quite understood why Mercy (who was one of my best friends so she was well aware of lil baby car's many problems) wanted that silly little Pontiac Sunfire. But I think I get it now; she just wanted to keep that part of me while I moved far far away. Plus she really needed a cheap car.

One day Mercy told me she had bumped into a pole, leaving a little yellow tattoo on lil baby car. I didn't understand. Who was this car? Did the car no longer parallel my life? I would never get a tattoo! But this morning I realized it wasn't really a tattoo after all, and balancing on one foot in the shower is a bad idea, and sometimes it leads to a nice bruise or two.

Monday, June 24, 2013

#HastenTheWork

If you're a Twitter fan, you may have noticed that #HastenTheWork was trending Sunday evening. Why you ask? Well, it was because this awesome broadcast called The Work of Salvation was on and boy oh boy was it exciting! The Prophet and Apostles of the Lord shared stories of missionary work and instructed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on how to be better missionaries. It was absolutely thrilling. I may or may not have jumped up a time or two out of pure excitement ;) The broadcast made me SO excited to serve a mission starting in September! The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. Life has a purpose - for us to grow and progress so that we can become like our Father in Heaven and return to live in His presence. Through priesthood ordinances performed in temples families can be together forever - it doesn't have to be just 'til death do we part, it can be forever!!! I know it is true and I cannot wait to share this message with those living in the Oregon Eugene Mission! I am seriously about to burst with excitement.

After an awesome weekend full of spiritually uplifting experiences, I just want to share my testimony with the world.

A great and amarvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Paper and Pen: Lifelong friends


Tonight was a journal night. Not a blog night. It was a private I-may-never-want-to-read-it-again-let-alone-let-anyone-else-read-it kind of night. And that is why I am forever grateful for paper and pen. Paper can be the best of listeners. Especially for someone like me. Someone who bottles up emotion. Someone who talks a lot, but talks very little about feelings - positive or negative. Just ask my ex. I have to be pushed and pushed and pushed to open up. I thought maybe he taught me how to open up. But tonight, after some serious self-examination, I realized I'm still lacking in that department. I just don't like talking about my feelings. Despite my love for vulnerability, I stink at letting myself be vulnerable.

Whether it's an "I love you" or a "You hurt my feelings", chances are I've never told you.

But here's to making a new effort to open up and be vulnerable. Baby steps. First I'll be vulnerable to myself. I'll admit my feelings to me. And then to my journal (again, paper = best friend). And maybe, one day, I'll open up to actual people. That's the goal. Eventually. But for tonight, I'm just satisfied with progress made without being pushed.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dear Hubs,

Dear Future Husband,

Because I promised myself last time I opened "the box" (the box of letters I get to open when I get engaged - letters to him *swoon* and letters to myself) that I would not open the box again until you're at my side, today you get a blog post.

Yesterday, I opened my mission call! It was (and still is) thrilling. Focusing solely on service and bringing others closer to Christ for 18 months? It doesn't get much better than that. I think you'll understand that feeling of excitement, because *fingers crossed* you served a mission as well.

In all the excitement, I want you to know that you were part of this decision to serve. I discovered a little over a year ago what is at the top of my "list". Well, actually it has become the only thing on my list because it's pretty all encompassing. I want to spend my eternity with someone who makes me want to be better. It's kind of funny, because I haven't even met you (at least not that I know of) and you are already encouraging me to be better.

Thank you.



P.S.,  Dad must have been thinking about you yesterday too because he made me listen to a song that he wants to play at our wedding. Surprisingly, he wasn't joking and it wasn't a silly song. It was a sappy sweet song, who woulda thunk it?

Dear Sister Hamilton...

I have been called to serve in the Oregon Eugene Mission!!! I report to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) on September 11th to prepare to preach the gospel in the English language.

I am oh so thrilled to serve in Oregon. Honestly, it just sounds like the perfect place for me. Which is weird, because I never even thought of Oregon being one of the places I might get sent. It'll be rainy, but the weather should be fairly mild *fingers crossed*. Of course I've already looked up a million Oregon facts and I even found the mission blog (click here)! It is a breathtakingly beautiful area.

What surprised me most when I opened my mission call was the peace that I felt. Earlier that day I couldn't even eat I was so excited/nervous. But the second I read "Oregon Eugene Mission" I just felt peace. Everything just feels RIGHT.


Now if only September would hurry up and get here...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Oh, the ANXIETY!

IT. IS. HERE.
 
And by here, I don't mean here. It's at home. And me? Well, I'm at work. Obviously not working. Hey, focusing is really hard at a time like this! I mean, there's a white envelope at home containing a letter signed by a prophet of God that says where I'll be spending 18 months of my life. This is a big deal.
 
I had almost convinced myself it wouldn't come today. Mostly because today was the perfect day for it to come, so I just knew it would come tomorrow when everyone in my family already had plans that would make it difficult for us to get together. But I still held out enough hope that it would come that I wore a cute outfit and forewent the non-waterproof eyeliner. The Lord's timing is perfect. And it would have still been perfect if my mission call arrived tomorrow, or next week, or a month from now. But, I am forever thankful that His perfect and my perfect aligned today.
 
Everyone keeps asking if I "feel" like I'm going to go to any place in particular. Simple answer, no. Truth is, I've probably had a dream or fleeting thought that I'm getting called to every single mission. Dad served in Australia, I'll probably go there. Salt Lake City, Temple Square would be lovely. Heartland (me and Liv's new favorite TV show) is set in Canada - I'll get sent there for sure. North Carolina. Russia. New York. Japan. Washingston D.C. South America. Hawaii. Texas. France. I just remembered a song from my elementary school Spanish class, I'll probably go to Spain. Or maybe California, Spanish speaking. Kansas perhaps?
 
There are SOOOOO many missions. And I know I will love wherever I am called. Going on a mission is exciting and overwhelming and terrifying and wonderful. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to share the gospel of Christ with others. Focusing on helping others draw closer to Christ for 18 months? It doesn't get much better than that.
 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TMI

Every time I hear "TMI" I think of my dear grandma on her wedding day. I called to wish her a happy wedding day (I think that's what you're supposed to do when your grandma gets re-married while you're at school...right?) and she told me that she and Ron (her fiance at the time, now her new hubs) were listening to the CD of songs they were going to play at the wedding. She said it was very romantic, "is that TMI?" Haha, yes, Grandma, that is definitely TMI.

But this post's TMI isn't even remotely related to my grandma's wedding.

I've been sick since last Wednesday night. Which means that tonight I will have been officially sick for an entire, miserable week. And it has been a pretty busy week, too. I have had a lot of obligations to fulfill, so being sick hasn't exactly fit into my plans.

Thursday was full of work and fire alarms--which led to be sitting outside with the occasional gust of wind that brought a cold rain. After over an hour of the alarm going off, I decided to crawl into my parents' closet (the quietest place in the apartment with the alarm still blaring) and go to sleep. It was a rather unfortunate night. But thanks to some delicious banana bread, I survived and the alarm finally shut off.

By Friday I was exhausted and feeling icky sicky. But, Lauren (the other receptionist) was on vacation, so I got up and went to work. Thankfully, we closed early for Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately, I babysat all weekend. I love babysitting. I do. And the kids were relatively good. But chasing after four kids 8 and under is a lot of work, especially when you and the baby are both sick. Rough night. On Saturday I took the kids to Chick-fil-a to eat lunch/burn off energy at the indoor playground and someone asked me, "Are all of those kids yours?" No, I actually didn't start birthing children at age 12. I had to giggle at that one. When the parents got home Saturday, I left to go home and finally let myself curl up on the couch and be sick.

At church on Sunday I was asked to help out in the nursery. Heavenly Father gave me a boost of health to get through those couple of hours, but as soon as I got home I was sick sick sick. So sick, in fact, that I had to miss out on all of the fun Memorial Day festivities with the nephews. Sad :( And Tuesday it was back to work, even though I was coughing up a storm and barely had a voice. And today (Wednesday) is much the same. I'm feeling better, "better" is still pretty cruddy. ANYWAY, I still haven't gotten to my point.

Here's the thing: since I've been sick, I've been drinking a lot of water. Like, a lot a lot. And hot chocolate. But mostly water. I'd say I drink about this much water a day -
And I'm pretty sure my bladder has shrunk to about this size -



.




Which has resulted in hourly visits to the bathroom. TMI? Yes. But seriously, it's a little insane. I feel like I'm back in kindergarten.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A day in the life

5:30 AM: It's storming. The lightening flashes and wakes me up. Or maybe it was the booming thunder. I awake just enough to notice that the window is leaking - the window just above my bed. Roll out of bed. Pull bed away from window. Curl back up in bed and go to sleep because it's too early and I'm too tired to worry about the water.

5:45 AM: sister wakes up, "really?! ughh" and jumps out of bed to get towels to put under the window. For a fleeting moment I think, "I probably should have done that when I got up to move the bed" but Liv's a pro and she takes care of everything while I fall back to sleep.

6:45 AM: wake up. It's still pouring rain. Shower? Not likely. Throw her up in a bun.

8:30 AM: work.

12:30 PM: lunch break. Use sister's "most trustworthy" award to get free Raising Canes. Is it dishonest to use someone else's award to get free food? Ah well, she doesn't even like Canes.

1:00 PM: back to work.

5:00 PM: come home (finally).

5:30 PM: mom's still sick. Head to store to pick up ingredients to make dinner. Mom thinks I'm being sweet, but really I just don't want her germs in my food. Okay, okay - and I'm being sweet.

5:45 PM: run into a guy from high school at the store. Get a little confidence booster when he tells me I'm going places because I'm the smartest girl he knows.

6:00 PM: make dinner. Chicken crescent rolls.

6:15 PM: hula hoop.

6:30 PM: eat dinner and watch movie with mom.

8:30 PM: write this blog post.

Tonight was my first "free" night in a while. Busy is good, but it's nice to have no obligations every now and then.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I have a bubble bath calling my name.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SUBMITTED.

I know, I know, I know. I haven't blogged in forever. I've been busy. Seriously. We're talking working-until-5-every-day-and-then-babysitting-multiple-nights-a-week busy. Life's crazy, BUTTTTTTTTTTT today deserves a blog post because (drum roll, please) I finished my mission papers! I met with the Stake President tonight, so I should know where I'll be serving for 18 months in about 2 weeks!!! AHHHHH! I'm so excited :) :) :)

Then, to top the night off, my brother Josh called to say he is planning on flying in from Alaska for a long weekend before I leave! WAHHOOOOO! I didn't think I was going to get to see him for the next 2 years, so this is a huge surprise and a great blessing.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Airplane musings

Did you know you can write a blog post offline in airplane mode on an iPhone? Well, you can. Which is especially exciting because I am currently on a plane heading home, and airplanes seem to spur a million thoughts. I usually just scribble my airplane thoughts down for myself, but now that I've discovered this offline blog thing I'm going to share my mind babblings with you (whoever you are).


First off, have you ever thought of why the sky is blue? And grass and trees are green? And the sun is yellow? And sunsets are a million beautiful colors? Well, I for one LOVE God's choice of colors. Here's my question though, are skies and oceans blue because blue is a peaceful color - or is blue peaceful because it reminds us of the sky and ocean?

I rarely listen to music on my phone. Airplane rides are one of the rare occasions when I do. Shuffle mode of course - gotta mix things up. Anyway, "I Want You Back" by N'Sync came on. I know, I know - you wish you had my music. So while listening to that superb boy band song, I decided something: any boy who makes a girl a mixed tape with that song on it deserves a second chance.

I annoy all my friends by playing the "what if" game almost nonstop. Lucky for them I usually fly solo, because the "what if" game reaches new heights (haha) on an airplane. For example, what if you somehow ended up on the wing of the plane during flight? What part of the wing would you hang on to? Also, do you think you'd pass out because the air is really thin up here in the sky?

Okay, I'm signing off. Time to jam out to the Princess Diaries 2 soundtrack (seriously, I completely understand if you're extremely jealous). If only my reflection in the window would go away so I could see the stars better...

I know I already ended this post, but I have breaking news from row 9 window seat: there is LIGHTENING! Seeing lightening from the sky is AWESOME. It is so beautiful! Purples, pinks and golds come in flashes that illuminate the otherwise black sky. I tried taking pictures and video. Neither worked. So just trust me, it is AWESOME. And probably dangerous. But mostly awesome.

The Quiet Year


I am hereby dubbing my sophomore year "the quiet year". If you ask my roommates or the girls living in the apartment below mine, they might tell you a completely different story; but for me, it was a quiet year. As I think back, I can't think of anything really exciting that happened. It wasn't a bad year. Or a particularly good one. It was just...a year.

Okay, I take that back. It wasn't just a year. It was a year of decision making. A year of best friend making. You see, this year was a lot different than last year. Sometimes it is really hard not to compare the two, but really they aren't comparable at all. Last year was full of new people. New friends, and lots of new acquaintances. This year I lived with last years "new friends". And last year's new friends became this year's best friends.

This year was also the year my life took an unexpected, but oh so thrilling turn; I decided to go on a mission! I never saw that one coming, but I am so excited for this life-changing opportunity to serve the Lord. So yes, this was a relatively quiet year - but I'm learning that quiet can be powerful.

Unfinished

I wrote this post days ago. I planned on finishing it at some point, but never got around to it. And now I can't even remember what else I wanted to say (okay, honestly I didn't even read what I had written to jog my memory...). So, here you go. An unfinished post.

This past week has been anything but ordinary. I can't even decide where to begin. Looking back, it's hard to believe so many things squeezed themselves into such a short period of time. Each story deserves it's own blog post, but they didn't happen in isolation in my life so they aren't going to be isolated in this blog. Life doesn't always come one note at a time. Sometimes the music blares. And sometimes the music is scary; sometimes it is sweet.

I briefly mentioned the Boston Marathon bombings last week. Very briefly. But in reality, that story consumed much more than a brief moment of my life. I became engrossed in the story. I should have been studying for finals, but instead I just watched the news. I needed to know the victims' stories. Want to know about any of the deceased's lives? I can tell you. Want to know stories of some of the heroes who rushed in to help? I can tell you those too. Stories from surgeons? Stories from the bombing suspects' family and friends? Yes, I can tell you all of those things. I could tell you what is going on in the investigation. I could tell you almost anything that has been released to the general public via CNN. I even followed MIT's emergency messages to their students/faculty when gunfire opened on campus. Becoming absorbed in the news probably wasn't the best thing. It didn't help anyone who was suffering. But I didn't know what else to do. I guess I felt like if I listened to their stories it would somehow honor the victims. Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi have families who know them as more than a picture on the tv screen, and I wanted to know their stories too.

The news can quickly consume one's life. But, just as the news had distracted me from studying for finals, finals snapped me back into real life. I might have been able to be distracted during reading days, but when the tests started I had to focus. It was good. I needed to focus on school, and I threw myself in full force. I took all of my finals (except 1/2 of an online one that I will do later today) on Friday and Saturday. 

One of my finals (family finance) was in the JSB auditorium. The chairs in there have tiny little desks, so people commonly use two of the desks to take finals. Especially when there are plenty of open seats. The auditorium was not very busy on Saturday morning when I went to take my test, so I took two desks. Not long after I began, a girl came and sat RIGHT next to me (at the desk I was using!!!!). She simply took my test off the desk and put it in my lap and sat down. WHATTTT???? I looked up to see if perhaps the auditorium had suddenly filled. No. No, there were a lot of empty seats. And by a lot, I mean a lot. We're talking 1/4 of the seats were empty. At least. I was quite appalled, but what can you do? I sat there in disbelief for a while, but eventually I resumed taking my test. Then the guy next to me whispered, "HEY! Hey, do you need some brain food?" and handed me a kit-kat. As much as I loved the sweet gesture and delicious chocolate, I was confused. You are not supposed to talk, give people things, or steal their desk in the testing center. I was sure I was going to fail because of all of the distractions, but no worries, I aced it. 


Monday, April 15, 2013

BREATHE.

Brace yourself: here comes the most scatter-brained post ever.

Today was the last Monday of classes (tomorrow is the last day of classes). I am so ready to be DONE. Even though I got a good amount of rest last night, I was barely staying awake in marriage prep this morning. That is definitely not my favorite class. I am super glad it's over.

Family finance had a good last lecture. We talked about being good stewards of whatever the Lord blesses us with. I've decided you can tell how the students feel about a professor by the way the last lecture ends. For example, marriage prep? Everyone just left. D&C? A few people went to shake the professor's hand and say "thank you". Family finance? Applause.

Get to work. Bev asks if I've seen the news. I haven't. I've been in back to back classes. Bombs at the Boston Marathon. People were injured. What is going on? Fear. Confusion. Sadness. So many questions. Then come stories like this:

Faith in humanity restored. Peace.

Daily mail check - got a letter. It's always a good day when you get mail.

5:20 - Lucy picks Greta, Chloe and I up to go to her ward activity. We helped set up. Free Tucano's and super fun games. I won the first round of rock, paper, scissors train. Everyone was chanting "Lisa! Lisa! Lisa!". I'm not even in their ward. I didn't now these people and they were chanting my name. FAME.

Rewind. Near death experience. I'm a three year old and can't be trusted to eat without choking. Swallowed too big of a bite. It's stuck. Water? Uhhh...yeah that didn't work. Water couldn't get down. I think to myself, "Is this what choking feels like? Am I choking?" Eventually I think, "Wait, am I breathing? Can I breathe?"  I lean my head back and take in what must have been my first breath in a little while. How do you forget to breathe? Silly Lisa. Cough. Swallow. De-choke yourself because you're too embarrassed to tell anyone you're choking. Thankfully, I didn't die. It would have been really dumb to die because I was too embarrassed to ask for help because I was choking. Air way cleared. Breathe. Hands are trembling. Breathe. Chew carefully. Live.

Now, watch these videos:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151356286845994
http://realbeautysketches.dove.com/?u=1

Hodpodge post over.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

RSAD

Last night, the boys in my ward put on a Relief Society Appreciation Dinner (RSAD). They had come by earlier in the week to cordially invite us to the event. They even wrote every girl's name in cursive on individual invitations. That was the first sign they were putting a lot of effort into this - individualized invites.

At promptly 7 o'clock, there was a knock at the door. Ben had arrived to escort us down to the car which drove us the 2 blocks to the church. More of the guys were at the church to open our doors and escort us to the room we would be dining in. They had decorated the room with white lights and beautifully decorated tables (we're talking table clothes, table runners, flowers...the whole deal). Oh, did I mention how dapper the guys were looking? They were dressed to the nines. Once we were seated, our "waiters" came by to take our orders. The menu was full of options. We could order a variety of lasagnas (all of which were completely the same, but they had different names). And the drinks! We could have water with lots of ice, water with a little ice, water with no ice, ice with no water - the possibilities were endless! Yes, we were spoiled. But truly, the meal was delicious.





My favorite part of the evening was the entertainment. Beto sang the "you're so beautiful you could be a part time model" song. I don't know the real name, but that song always makes me laugh. Then a bunch of the guys treated us to a dance number to the hit song "That's What Makes You Beautiful". Bishop even joined in on that one. One of my fellow ward members recorded it, but the video is sideways...it is still worth watching though. So turn your computer on it's side and enjoy:



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Foster Wright Hamilton

The world got a smidgen cuter on Friday morning when nephew #2, Foster, was born. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this little munchkin. And, of course, to see my Pierson man. Ahhhh, I just love them so much! Nephews make the world a brighter place :)








Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grateful

Thomas Nielsen was 14 years old when he was first diagnosed with Leukemia. With treatment, he battled and won. He took up lacrosse and had lots of friends. He was kind of quirky, and his mom was amazed at how cancer had transformed her boy into such an outgoing guy. He said that after you deal with being a bald teenager and all the funny looks you get, not much bothers you anymore. Once he stopped caring what people thought, he found people liked his quirks.

When Thomas was 18, the cancer came back. Three times. 18, 19, and 20 were all spent battling cancer. Thomas was only 21 when cancer took his life on October 4, 2009. After he died, his mom read his journal. She felt like it was okay to read it, but if he has a problem with it she will gladly apologize in heaven. Thomas's mom is one of my professors, and she shared a portion of his journal with my class.

The entry wasn't dated, but Dr. Nielsen thinks it was written in January or February of 2009. It was a grateful list. I read his list with teary eyes. Some items on the list were related to his cancer...for surviving as long as he had, for the possibility that he could get better, for bone marrow transplants. Then there were the names. So many names. People who had impacted his life. Family, friends, teachers. I especially liked how he listed specific reasons some people made the list.

The list is really long. Dr. Nielsen gave us each a copy. I keep it in the front of my binder. It reminds me to be grateful for everything in life. Because even when things are crazy busy, life is crazy good.

So here are a few of my favorite parts about today:
  • crepes with fresh strawberries for breakfast
  • boys holding doors open - especially the guy in my class who was limping today but he saw me coming down the hall and held the door open until I got there
  • Mr. Rogers - we talked about him in class today and I think he is just the greatest
  • my job (and always getting a cup full of M&M's and other candies from my boss)
  • strawberry shortcakes 
  • my body - have you ever thought about how awesome it feels to just breathe?

Festival of Colors

Saturday's big adventure was the Holi Festival of Colors at the Hare Krishna Hindu temple in Spanish Fork. It's this huge festival celebrating spring. People walk around with bags of colored cornstarch and throw it on you to make you pretty and colorful. Then, every two hours there is a giant color throw. Very pretty. Very poor air quality.










It was a very fun day, but there were a few things I wasn't quite prepared for:

  1. The girl who spanked my butt with a hand full of color - seriously, who spanks a stranger?!
  2. The girl who kept asking to take pictures with us and then hugged me and rubbed color on my face - of all the people there, she HAD to choose me? I really should start wearing a shirt that says, "I don't like it when people touch me. Especially strangers."
  3. I missed air so much while I was there. I'm pretty sure my lungs were purple on the inside from all the colored cornstarch that day.
Overall I'd consider this a pretty successful adventure. Stamp of approval.