Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On why I am a dork.

I'm up waiting to register for classes, so I figured it's a good time to write some blog posts.

I had some priceless moments today.

  • First off, I think I'm really funny, so I laugh to myself as I walk to-and-from campus. Under my breath. Everyone thinks I'm crazy. Little do they know. 

  • I'm a dork because I make a fool of myself at the grocery store. 

Case in point: Last week, my friends Amy, Sara, and I went to Smith's so that we could get food and not starve. Always a good option.

Well, Amy needed to grab something she had forgotten, and I decided I wanted to go with her (because we're both returned sister missionaries and sometimes still have companion withdrawals), but Sara decided that she wanted to stay by the cart. Cool. So we go and get the cranberries or Pop-tarts or whatever it was and go back to the cart . . . but Sara's not there. We shrug our shoulders and decide to go back down the aisles, looking for stuff we need, and then bring them back and wait for Sara. We're trying to save time, you know.

Well, after going past the milk and sour cream, I see what I need: yogurt. I love yogurt. It's like manna. I just love it. Especially lemon yogurt. I've recently been on a lemon yogurt kick. It's just soooo good.

Anyway. I saw the yogurt. And the lemon yogurt. And I needed it. Especially because yogurt was on sale for 10 delicious yogurts for $4. Need.

I start filling my hands with yogurts and then realize that I am not an octopus. Or an octo-mom. So I start putting yogurts in my purse, when Amy comes by and says, "Megan, are you stealing the yogurts?"

Does it look like I'm stealing the yogurts, Amy.

Oh wait. Yes. Yes, it does.

Another highlight of that grocery trip was running up and down the checkout aisles looking for Blue 5 Gum, when all they had was anything but Blue 5 Gum and I had to buy the gross Green 5 Gum. It is not as good. Just trust me on this one. You only want the blue gum.

This grocery trip today was much better. First, I did not steal yogurt. Second, there was Blue 5 Gum! And third, THEY SELL BELVITA COOKIES IN THE USA NOW! Be still my beating heart. BelVitas are the best things ever. Especially the hazelnut cookies. Oh. I might have just freaked out a little bit (read: a lot bit) when I saw those pretty cookies on the shelves.

  • Remember how I think I'm really funny and like to laugh at myself? Well, my highlight of the evening was when I was texting some friends and being really clever. That can be a hard thing to do in texts. But I was pretty dang funny, if I do say so myself. So I was laughing to myself. 

Then I look up, and my roommate is in the kitchen, flashing me a peace sign and staring at me with this "you're crazy" look on her face. Apparently she'd been doing that for about a minute before I noticed her, all the while I was just chuckling to myself about how funny I am.

In my defense, it was a really funny text.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How missionary work translates into dating.

So, remember how I love Ukraine? Specifically the people in Ukraine? And even more specifically, sister missionaries in Ukraine?

Well, I still love them. Even more today.

Vot. Smotri. [Behold. Look.]

I had mentioned to one of my former companions about how dating life in Provo is either feast or famine, (It's true, okay?) and how right now I'm feasting.

[Side note: People. The world has gone crazy and suddenly I'm a dating machine? What? I don't even know what to do with it. Where do all of these boys even come from? I mean, it's fun, and I'm having a great time getting to know lots of new people and making new friends, but I'm serious, folks. Feast or famine. And I keep expecting those seven years of famine to come.]

Anyway. She wanted to know about my life, so I told her. And she decided to give me some great flirting advice, using an mnemonic device that we use in our mission for contacting. This is how it typically looks:

Open your mouth
Navigate to the Restoration
Teach and Testify
Contacts (ask for referrals)

See? It's great to use in finding activities. (And in our mission, we do a lot of contacting.)

But it gets better. In her e-mail today, my companion used this for dating/flirting advice (because goodness knows I need help in the flirting department). Behold. Look:

"Remember boys are dumb. They need some signs. So flirt a little. [. . .] Don't be too forward, but maybe use the contacting tips.
Open your mouth
Never be afraid
Try a hair flip or eyebrow raise
Ask for help
Common ground
Then make him chase you!

Wow my advice is getting worse and worse. So I'll sign off." 

Best. ever. 

This is why I love her. 

Totally going to use it. Especially "T"-- "Try a hair flip or eyebrow raise." 

Although I'm thinking eyebrow waggle. Ohhhh yeah, baby. Dating machine right here. 

Bloggity Blog Blog

My friend Erin asked me to guest post on her blog. Check it out! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Honoring Brimhall

Like many of you already know, this year I decided to enter the Brimhall Memorial Essay Contest. Each year, the Brimhall Memorial Essay Contest allows BYU students to get to know one of the BYU founders--men and women who sacrificed for this university so that we could have it today.

This year, the honored founder was the man himself, George H. Brimhall. 

He's an incredible man. He gave all--his time, health, and talents to building up both the kingdom of God and BYU. He believed in the value of education, and he believed in the power of faith. And he knew that they had to grow together in order for the soul to be educated. 

Students and faculty loved him, because he loved them. He gave absolutely everything to these causes, he worked through depression and anxiety, and he believed in dreams. He believed in people. He believed in God. 

And I'm his fifth-great-granddaughter. 

It's an honor to come from such a person as George H. Brimhall. 

And I enjoyed writing an essay about him, his contributions to BYU, and the beauty of studying by faith and reason. 

. . . and winning the contest was just . . . awesome. I wish I had a better word for it. But I was so happy to find out that I won! 

The day I found out I won, my phone was being really weird. So when the guy called to tell me that I had won, this is how the conversation went down: 

Him: "Hello, is this Megan?" 
Me: "Yes." 
Him: "This is so-and-so from BYU Alumni. How has your day been?" 
Me: "Pretty good." 
Him: "Well, I have some news that will make it even better. You're the winner of the 2013 Brimhall Memorial Essay Contest!" 
Me: "That's great! I'm so excited! I, I, that's just great!" 
Him: "Hello? Hello? Hellooooooo?" (he's laughing) 
Me: Oh great. [I move out of the JKB and go outside. He calls again.] 
Him: "Hello?" 
Me: "Hi! Sorry, my phone lost service because I was in the JKB." 
Him: "Oh, I just thought you had passed out." 

I laughed. I'm still laughing. 

I didn't pass out when he told me, but I almost passed out when I read my essay to a full Marriott Center audience on Tuesday. Oh, my legs were shaking so badly. And I'm sure the guy next to me thought I was absolutely crazy. I kept breathing out, "Hoooo, hooo," and I'm pretty sure that at one time I said, "I can do this."

And I did do it! I read my essay in front of all of those people. It was so, so cool. Again, I just don't have good words for it. But it was just an amazing experience for me.

Here are some pictures:

This is me on that big, imposing stage. 

 Now I'm giving my speech. I look pretty passionate and intense. 

Full shot of me looking passionate and intense. 

After the Homecoming Opening Ceremonies, I got to go to the Founders' Luncheon, where I got to meet Elder Groberg and President Samuelson! I got to sit by President Samuelson during lunch, so that was neat. Best part of lunch? My cousin Jayne coming up to the "cool kids' table" with President  and Sister Samuelson, Elder and Sister Groberg, and myself, and asking me to sign her program. Ba-ha. 

With Elder Groberg and President Samuelson. 

Honestly, it was just such an honor for me to give my speech and feel special. It was wonderful, and I'm so grateful and humbled for the opportunity. Although the prize isn't bad either. :) 

-For those who are interested in reading my essay, I will put the link from the BYU Alumni Website as soon as they post it. For now, if you want to read it, please send me an e-mail or a personal message and I'll get it to you.- 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

No words.

Just this. This movie.
[courtesy of eventful.com]

So good. I just--no words.

I went with a group of friends, some who had served Russian-speaking, others who just wanted to see a good movie. 

We all loved it. 

But, I have to say it was different for us who had served Russian-speaking. There's just a depth that we felt, because we've been there--not kidnapped, thank goodness, but in Eastern Europe. Those are the streets we walked. That is the juice we drank. Those are our people. And we know their stories. 

It's one of those movies that makes you think after watching it. You have to absorb it. Drink it all in. Ponder. And remember. 

Again, I have no words. That's how good it was. 

Go see it while you still can. 

Just loving life

Don't worry. I plan on posting about the Brimhall Essay Contest soon. I just haven't had time. But I want to just write how I'm feeling right now. I have an urge to write, and so, I write. 

It's one of those days when I'm just content.

Why? Well, I'll tell you:

I love beautiful, crisp, bright, October afternoons.

I love actually catching up on homework for the first time in three weeks. And I'm actually a bit ahead. Lovely. Oh, so lovely. I might actually have time to work on my Honors Thesis.

I love watching great movies with friends. (Saratov Approach. A.ma.zing. Just amazing.)

I love listening to Jamie Cullum while I write this blog post. (New favorite singer. Like, he's so good. Look him up and listen if you haven't already. Everything You Didn't Do and You're Not the Only One are probably my favorites right now.)

And I love just wearing sweatpants and that "Beautiful" shirt Women's Services gave out a few years ago, with my hair in a ponytail, not even caring how I look, so long as it's comfortable. Best PJs ever. So nice.

I love pumpkin. I've been craving it all week. And I'm probably going to make pumpkin cookies in just a few minutes. I promise you I will.

I love writing "in case of homesickness" letters to my sister before she goes into the MTC on Wednesday. Is it really coming up that fast? Crazy, crazy.

And perhaps, best of all, just a feeling of happy anticipation, which I haven't felt for awhile--at least, not this deep-rooted. Just--expectation, you know? An expectation and anticipation of good things to come.

It's kind of like this:

“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.” --A.A. Milne

Yep. Just like that. Only different. 

The simple things in life. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Letter to My Sisters

To my sisters as they prepare to serve missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

To my dear sisters,

First, you need to know that I love you and that I'm proud of you for having the courage to serve.

I know that it's not easy. It's not easy to make that decision. Believe me, I know. And as I've watched your stories unfold, I know it hasn't been an easy decision for you, either. We all have different stories on why we choose the mission--and we all have our stories as to why we stay.

Hold on to your story. Remember why you chose to serve--remember the struggle, the questions, the fears, the answers, the peace. Remember how God works in pieces: line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept. Remember how He answered you. For everyone's story will be different. I loved listening to the sisters' reasons as to why they chose to serve. It was always one of my first questions that I would ask a new companion: "Why are you on a mission? What's your story?" Some people knew right away. For others, it was a struggle. Some had been planning on serving their whole lives, while others resisted those undeniable spiritual impressions, urging them to start the mission process. But each girl knew that God was mindful of her, and that He had answered her pleadings in a very specific way--just for her.

We love telling our stories.

You'll meet so many people on your mission, all with their own stories. Some people will unleash their deepest fears and greatest joys to you. Others will be timid--they will hold back until you gain their trust. Still others won't even acknowledge your existence, and will hid their hearts, or sneer at yours.

Love them anyway.

All of them.

That is why you are called to serve. You are called to be a representative of Christ in all aspects. Without His charity, you are nothing. Pray to love others, especially your companion . . . and especially yourself. Be a healer, like Christ was. Reach out. Lift. Shine. Give direction. Do the will of the Father in all things. And love, love, love. It is the reason we do this work, because God loves His children. And because God loves you, He is letting you be a part of His work and glory. Love--charity--is the answer to everything. It is central to this work, and it is the overarching theme of the Father's story.

For His story has always been about love. He is our loving Heavenly Father. God loved us so He sent His Son. How great the wisdom and the love. We might not understand the meaning of all things, but we can know He loves us. And you are telling His children of His love. That He has reached out again in love to His children. That there is a Restoration of all things. God speaks. He loves us. And He will never forsake us. It is a message of hope, peace, and love. How this world needs it.

And you need it, too.

There will come times on your mission when you feel broken. Alone. Discouraged and frightened. Overwhelmed with the injustice and cruelty of the world, or disheartened by the behavior of those who should know better. Sooner or later, everybody breaks. But don't give up. Hold on. Remember that God loves broken things, and that He will mend your soul. He will mold you into the woman He needs you to become. It will hurt. It will hurt so much at times. But let Him mold you, shape you, and refine you. Be willing and humble enough to walk into that refiner's fire--because He'll be with you every step of the way. And as you walk through fire, you'll come out alive. Better than alive. You will grow and deepen. You will find that you've become more like Him. But only if you let Him. Only if you decide to let His love work in you and change you.

Because that's the miracle you're preaching. This miracle of love. That the Atonement of Christ works. That Christ has the power to heal and save. But we have to want it. We have to be willing to make those changes and come unto Him. God will force no man to heaven. We have to want it. You have to want it. The desires of our hearts matter more than I think we even realize.

And your desires are pure. I am so grateful to call you my sisters. I have faith in you that you will work miracles through Him who is mighty to save. He lives. This is His Church. And you have the privilege of bearing His name right by your heart for the next 18 months.

Always remember Him.

Love, love, love,