Sunday, June 30, 2013

I hope they call me.... (and why!)

Well, it's official: 
I've started my papers to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (: WOOHOOO!!! 
For all my friends and family whom I've talked with about serving a mission for the past year or so, I figured I would write the process of how I came to decide - because, boy, it's been a long learning experience.

The last year has been very difficult for me, spiritually. Although I had a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of a living, loving Heavenly Father, I had a hard time feeling close to the Lord - and I was filled to the brim with doubt and fear about my life. It came from many factors - family issues to heart-aching dating experiences before SVU. I had this picture in my head - honestly, this assumption - about what my life would be - what I wanted it to be. Gosh darn it all, I wanted to marry my dashingly handsome & spiritual Captain America dream man and be a photographer at home, while raising some cute bouncing babies! I clung to that dream, and did my best to force it to happen. Obviously, it wasn't working out - and it frustrated me. Instead of trusting in God to fulfill His promises and bless me in His own time, I tried to force it to happen when I wanted it, and it resulted in me pushing myself away spiritually. 
Well, near the end of the last semester, I started finally realizing that that dream that I had prayed for and wanted quite earnestly wasn't happening, and that I needed to fix where I went wrong and make myself right before my Heavenly Father. I decided that this summer I would sincerely and diligently try my best to come close to Him. I wanted to strengthen my faith... I realized that I needed to have faith in Him to have those blessings when the time is right, and that the doubt and fear were opposed to me developing that needed stronger faith. So, I started changing my attitude, and focusing on coming closer to Him. I was able to give up that picture of what I wanted immediately, and was determined to give up my will for His will for my life.
Things were going really well - I was slowly making those needed changes and was attending Institute in Winchester and DC, trying to make friends and casually browse the dating scene and have something interesting to do during the summer. (Btw, if you feel like being surrounded by amazing people with similiar standards as you, go to Institute in DC. It's awesome. It's like Utah, but without the shallow bubble feeling you sometimes get in happy valley. It's also filled with cute guys, but no big deal).
Well, two weeks ago I was driving home from church, and I was listening to this cheesy Mormon musical missionary song that my family has grown up on. I was singing along, thinking about what it would be like to teach people the gospel. Not personally, or me specifically - just what it would be like in general. I was pondering that, and suddenly this... inspiration, this beautiful feeling of light, filled my mind and my heart, and I knew that Heavenly Father wanted me to serve a mission. It was perfectly clear, much stronger than when I normally feel the Spirit when I listen to Church music (which is lovely as well). And I just knew! So I took the next week to pray about it, and let it sink in I suppose. And the next week I went in and talked to the Branch President. And since then, I have just felt so happy and excited and so GREAT! I have also felt a peace with the Lord that I haven't felt in a long time.  Honestly, since making this decision and diving into my scripture study and prayer and preparing to serve, I have felt a world of difference in my peace and my faith. So, I cannot wait until I get called to serve. Wherever I go, I know it will be the place for me, and I'll love it and serve the best I can. It's simply so exciting.
Moral of the story is:
- Doubt and fear make it impossible to have faith
- The Lord has a plan for your life. He has a plan for mine - He has things He wants me to do. And for me to feel the greatest peace, joy, and happiness I can, I need to trust in Him to guide me to what I need to do. He wants me to become the best I can possibly be - to become like Him. He knows what I need to learn to become that. As much as I think I know sometimes, I simply don't know for sure where the life choices I make will lead. He does know. He has guided me in the past, and will do so in the future, in making those choices, that I believe - I know - will lead to that peace, joy, and happiness.
- Have faith. (:

love this scripture! D&C 68:6. Perfect for a mission. (:

and, for happy viewing, pictures from the last few weeks. Enjoy.

Peter & I
The creek. Why, yes, this is our backyard. 

Fredericksburg, Virginia. I miss this place.
an alleyway in Fredericksburg. Charming and oh so cozy.
I'm feeling happy. (:

take a dive


adventurer. also, our backyard. beautiful, isn't it? it's like another world.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

taking the dive - Notes on Paper Photography

I took a leap today and made my own photography website. I've been playing with the idea for almost six months now, and haven't done it yet - first, because I haven't had time - and second, because I was nervous to put up the pictures I've taken in a more professional context...
However, I finally decided to just do it, and I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. I'm excited to keep taking pictures & be able to share them with the world.. and to get closer to being able to gain more experience. Exciting!!

To check it out, click here:
Also, my family - for some odd property tax reasons - was compelled to start a mini farm business. Check out my Mom's blog - she is one of the most amazing people I know. From making kefir, to shearing our own sheep & spinning our own wool, to making folk art and all sorts of things... she is incredible! Check out our family's blog by clicking here 
& check out our family website by clicking here: