Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Goin' on a mission!

I was baptized the day before my 19th birthday. From that moment on, I wanted to go on a mission. I talked about it constantly, thought about it all the time, and prayed hard that I would go. When I turned 21, I was still in school at BYU. I was on the slow plan since I was having such a good time. So, I had at least 2 years before I graduated. But, I wanted to go on a mission. I called my mom to discuss the possibility. But, my non-member dad was dead-set against it.

After praying about it, I decided to wait until I graduated to go. I was at BYU home one Sunday morning. My roommates were gone and I was getting ready for church. As I normally did, I was listening to a churchy station while showering. This station would play hymns, church songs, and gave church news throughout the day on Sundays.I'm doing my thing in the shower when the news from the church came on the radio. It was announced that a couple of new missions were open. The first one they announced was the Bulgaria, Sofia mission. I dropped my soap and screamed. At last! The former Communist country of my father's was opened for the Gospel!

I was so excited, laughing, and crying, that I just turned off the water to not waste anymore. All I could do is think about this and how it affected my family there in Bulgaria. I couldn't collect enough thoughts to finish my shower. Suddenly I heard the phone ring. Since no one was home, I rushed from the shower to answer it. It was a friend who had heard the same radio broadcast and called to alert me. I kept saying, "I know! Isn't it wonderful?," while standing there naked and dripping.

I finally felt a cold breeze as the air conditioner began to blow. That made me realize that I was naked and dripping.

Later, I reflected on the news and was impressed that my decision to not go at age 21 was for this very reason. Had I gone when I was 21, Bulgaria was not open as a mission and I would not serve there. Somehow I knew that since I waited, I would have an opportunity to serve my father's native land. I wasn't sure if it meant now, as a young woman or when I was old and retired, but I knew that this was important news for me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Buggin' out!

I hate bugs. I don't mind them so much when I'm outside (except for bees). My reasoning is that I'm in their residence. But, if I see one in the house, I get a little freaky. It's one thing that makes me really upset that I'm not married--because it's HIS duty to kill them.

When I first moved into my house, I didn't have any furniture except for my bed. So I sat on my living room floor to do paperwork. One night I'm sitting on the floor doing some stuff when I felt something on my hand. As I looked down to see what it was, I realized that it couldn't be anything other than a bug. It was big and black and after the echos of my screams died down I was able to grab my can of Raid and attack it. Eww, (shudder) just thinking about it makes me want to shriek.

When I was living with roommates, we each had our own room. On one particular night, M. was working late and T. and I had already gone to bed. Suddenly, out of the blue, I heard a scream. Not just one scream but a series of screams. I quickly left my bed and ran to T.'s room. She was screaming and pointing to her bed. She said that there was a cricket in her bed. After inspecting the bed (which was funny since we both were squeamish about it), we discovered that somehow a cricket had gotten into her pillowcase. It was in the corner at the bottom between the pillow and the case. How it got there is still a mystery.

We've discovered the ugly creature--how to get it out? We tried to make a space between the pillow and the case thinking that it would just crawl out--but to no avail. So, we got the great idea of taking the whole thing out to the balcony and then taking out the pillow and shaking the case. Brilliant! Except her pillow was a feather pillow. Which means that in order to get it out of the case, you practically have to grab it from inside the case and tug and pull to release it. No way, no how would either of us do that with a cricket inside. It might touch us!

I don't know how we were able to do it, but we finally got that darn pillow out of the case and shook the case. Instead of the cricket flying over the balcony, it was flipped into the apartment under the couch! Just picture this....2 girls prancing around, shrieking, and holding a pillow by their fingertips. Then after much dancing and crying, screaming that the creepy bug is now in the apartment and between us and our bedrooms. I think we finally just took a deep breath and ran to our rooms.

Don't know what happened to the bug....it may have died from laughter.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The downside of sign language

You know those jokes that you have with friends that never die? Well, I have several. Like a couple of friends who ALWAYS talk about how I got Euchred twice while going alone. (If that sentence doesn't make sense, then please see this about one of the best card games ever.) Or the friend who teases me about groping him almost every time I see him. Or my godfather always talking about my personal way to warm him up. Here's one that I have to tease my friend about quite often.

My roommate, T., had an off again, on again relationship with her boyfriend. T. would come home and I could usually tell if it was on or off with the boyfriend. Oftentimes, she would come home exclaiming, "I'm OVER him!" Of course, the next day or two she would come home glowing and no longer over him.

It got to the point that eventually, she would just use sign language when they were off. Usually this would be her holding one arm straight out and the other arm would making an arc over straight arm. That meant she was "over" him (get it? the arm going over the other).

One day T. came home and I smiled as I noticed her glow. I asked her about her vent the day before when she was "over" him. Without saying a word, T. held out her arm straight and with the other made an arc under that arm! Now, for those who may be too innocent to understand this particular brand of sign language, if you do that to someone, it is a way to flip them off. I couldn't believe it! My angelic roommate just flipped me off! When T. realized what she had done, she quickly explained that she was no longer over him, but in love again.

Ho! That was funny. By the way, T. is no longer over him since they were married and now have 2 children.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Miracles still happen

Let me share an experience I had. I had driven to Utah from Indiana and back. This happened on my return home. I returned over Labor Day. I copied this from an email I sent to a friend.

On Saturday night, I had dinner with the missionary who taught me the Gospel when I was 9. He gave the blessing on the food and during his prayer, I remember thinking that he was being so specific regarding his requests. He prayed for his children by name and activity for that night--being specific about what he was asking. He then prayed for me and my trip home--again being very specific. I felt touched that he was so detailed and concerned.

Then I leave Sunday morning. The first day was fine, no problems whatsoever. I stopped late that night to sleep and got about 4.5 - 5 hrs of sleep. I wanted to get up early to get on the road and be home at a decent hour. Once I got to Kansas City KS, the roads got very busy. We were driving the speed limit, but there were a lot of cars on the road. Once I hit IL, about every 5 miles was a police officer pulling people over. Very busy interstate.

When I was about 2.5 - 3 hrs from home, I was listening to my Ipod, had my passenger seat covered with stuff (food, napkins, etc.), and my phone on the passenger seat. The phone rang and I knew it was either Dad or my friend from UT. I reached for it, but couldn't find it. So, I looked at the seat. When I returned my eyes to the road, I saw grass. I had crossed from the right lane into the left lane and was in the median. I overcorrected and went across the 2 lanes again, slammed on my brakes when I hit the shoulder, and spun 360 degrees, landing in the grass on the shoulder.

I sat there just stunned. I wasn't hurt at all--didn't hit anything...just very badly shaking from fear and adreline. Three people stopped and the first guy that got to me tried to open my door. I had enough sense to unlock it. He kept asking me if I was alright and all I could do was nod. I finally found my voice and said that I wasn't hurt at all, just shaken. The other people that stopped asked him if I was alright. Everyone was stunned that I hadn't flipped the car. The guy that stopped and a couple that stopped (man and woman) were mechanics. Both men looked at the car (under the car, under the hood, outside, etc) and said that there wasn't a scratch on it. Nothing was wrong.

The woman was an EMT and was required to call it in. Since there were so many police on the road, there was an immediate response. The police officer asked for my license and proof of insurance. When he was calling in the license plate, I told him that it was a rental. He then wanted to see the rental papers.

*Side note: My brother wanted me to take a pistol with me for protection while on the road. I do not have a license to carry but never took the gun out except when I was staying in the motel at night. That morning, I stuck the gun in my duffel bag knowing that I wouldn't be using it or anything.*

When the police officer wanted to see the rental papers, I remembered that they were in the same place as the gun. I panicked a little, but I unzipped it enough to put my hand in there to get the papers and he never saw it. He checked out everthing which was fine (I've only had 2 speeding tickets and the last one was about 4-5 yrs ago). By this time I was bawling in reaction, so he told me to drive about 2 miles to the next exit to collect myself. I sat in a parking lot for about 20 min as I cried and kept saying thank you. I called my friend to get sympathy as I knew that I could never tell my dad what had happened (he was the one that called). He would completely lose it and get scared, mad, etc.

For the remainder of the time home, I kept praying for continued guidance and safety, to stay awake and alert, be extremely careful and aware, to ask that the car remain in good operating order and appearance, and saying thank you about every other sentence. I was reminded of the prayer given the night before I left and the specificity of it--and I remembered thinking during that prayer that it was a good example of being specific in prayer. Now I know how good to be specific because he asked for something like that I be alert and skilled to handle any situation.

There is no doubt in my mind that heavenly beings were watching out for me. It is truly a miracle that I didn't hit any cars, posts, or anything. All I got was shaking hands, sweaty armpits, and dry mouth. And deep gratitude for Heavenly Father and those people who helped. I truly believe that there is a reason why 2 mechanics were there to help me. As I have gone over the accident in my mind, I am amazed that nothing serious happened. With all the cars on the road, the least one would expect would to cause a pile up as cars slammed on brakes to avoid hitting me. But nothing like that happened--there wasn't even congested traffic from this--it all ended up on the shoulder. For some reason, I and everyone around me were protected. It's apparent that we are still needed here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Miracles do happen

I know so many people loved the MTC when they served as missionaries. I was not one of them. I had such a difficult time while in the MTC. I was older than most there--I was 24 when I entered the MTC and I had already graduated from BYU. Plus, I chafed at the rules. I understood to an extent the need for such stringent rules for everything, but I felt that many of them were dumb and didn't apply to me. So I struggled.

On Sunday evenings, we always had a fireside. After the fireside, we had almost 20 min (normally, we had 5 min--20 min was near to being free!) before we had to be in our dorm. My companion and I would walk around the grounds of the MTC before retiring for the night.

On one particular night, I was really feeling the chains of all the rules. While walking, we heard the sounds of a party. In one of the homes behind the MTC grounds, there was a birthday party going on. We stopped for a moment to watch the interactions of family members. As we walked away, I commented that I wish I could sit on a real couch and put my feet on a table in front of me for just 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes.

We continued on our way and I kept this image in my head -- a comfy couch, table, and 5 minutes. We then noticed a door that was ajar in the MTC. It was definitely out of place and we decided to investigate. As we tiptoed over to the door and gently pushed it open, lo! and behold! we saw a couch and a table. Apparently we entered a spare room that a lot of furniture was kept and someone forgot to close the door.

God heard my prayer. We sat on that couch and I put my feet up for 5 minutes. As we quietly closed the door and walked back to the dorms, I was reminded once again that Heavenly Father truly does think of us even in our most selfish moments.

Another similar miracle occurred while I was at the MTC. Once again, I was chafing under all the rules and wished that I could get away from the MTC for just one hour. I told my companion that just one hour from the MTC would help to boost my spirits and give me enough fortitude to last. We were a week away from our P-day, so going to the temple was out of the question. And by this time, the Eastern bloc countries had gotten in trouble and were not allowed to walk the MTC grounds between classes. So, we sat in a classroom from somewhere around 8 am to 8 pm with about four 5 min breaks, but all we could do is go outside the building and stand for 5 min. Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit again as I felt it vastly unfair to restrict the Eastern bloc countries like that and watch all the other missionaries walk by us. I felt like a 2 year old being put in time out.

So, I'm mumbling under my breath, trying my best to not actually murmur and keep faithful, and wished with all the yearning I had to leave this prison for 1 hour. And then, the miracle happened. My companion's glasses broke. She had a strange prescription, so to simply put the lens back in was not feasible--she needed an expert to do that.

In order to leave the MTC, one had to get written permission from your branch president. I remember going with my companion to see our branch president. He interviewed both of us and tried to find other solutions to this dilemma. Finally, he sorrowfully signed our permission slip and said, "Sisters, I truly regret this, but I give you permission to go to the mall for 1 hour. That is all, just one hour--may God watch over you and keep you safe while in the world."

After rolling my eyes and wondering how he thought we would survive once we got in the mission field, we went to the bus to leave for the mall. As we sat on the bus, I realized that miracle #2 had occurred. We were going to be out of the MTC for one hour--the time I asked for.

My companion and I enjoyed that hour away (and what do you know--God saved us from all the sinners in the mall!). We were able to buy some contraband (i.e. candy) for our district and of course go to the Missionary Emporium to torment Elder G.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Practical Joke #1.01

So, remember this post? There is more to the story. First, Sis. R. didn't really know it was me. I think her companions told her that I had been by. So, although it was obviously me that put the cheese on her pillow, she actually believed me when I told her I was coerced by Elder G.

A couple of weeks later, my companion and I had an opportunity to go to the University Mall in Provo. While there, she and I visited the Missionary Emporium. This was a store exclusively made for missionaries. One of the things it had was a "Dear John" wall -- hilarious! -- and a "Please write me" wall. On this particular wall, missionaries would post a note asking for letters and would add their address. Usually, it was an Elder asking for girls to write him. Since my companion and I were there, we decided to help out a fellow missionary. We wrote a sappy note from Elder G. (the same Elder that "coerced" me to putting the cheese on Sister R.'s bed).

Getting back to the MTC, we told everyone what we had done. We laughed about it and Elder G. thought we were lying. I assured him we were not and if he got a letter, to not be surprised. In the meantime, Sister R. wrote a letter and had a cousin mail it from southern UT. Elder G. received this letter and then realized that I was not lying....his name and address really was up on the wall in the mall.

Of course, he didn't know that the letter was written by Sister R. But what was funny was that he soon received another letter--and none of us wrote it. He actually had received a letter from someone who had read the sappy note and took pity on him.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I dream a lot. Usually every night and I remember many of my dreams. I'd like to share two of my favorites.

I dreamed once that a man in a gorilla suit "kidnapped" me. I say kidnapped, but he and I had it planned. I'm not sure why he had to conceal his identity, but in order for us to be together, he could not let anyone know who he was. As he grabbed me to leave, we were surrounded by police cars with lights flashing. At one point, this man in a gorilla suit looked at me with the bluest of eyes. We seemed to speak without words because I knew what he needed to make a clean escape. I was able to steal one of the police cars and urged him to get in so we could make our getaway.

In real life, I've seen men with the same blue eyes, but alas, they were not wearing a gorilla suit.

I also dreamed that I was a man. Tall, dark, and so darn hot looking in my black leather jacket that I had a crush on myself. I was a detective and lived near my mother. As I was coming home one night late, I saw that my house had intruders. I quickly ducked behind a bush and planned my strategy. My mother had seen me and opened her door to welcome me home. I knew that she would blow my cover and put herself in danger, so I quickly dispatched my highly trained German Shepherd. While he distracted the intruders, I sent my secret weapon--my highly trained and vicious black cat. I knew that my attack cat would take no prisoners. My mom, unknowing of danger, beckoned to my animals. However, they would not be deterred from their mission. They quickly dispatched the invaders and I was able to greet my mother without her knowing any danger was near.

I will say that my dreams are often very amusing and I look forward to my nightly entertainment as I close my eyes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I say the dumbest things

Kids don't have the market on saying dumb things. I work in long term disability. When I first began working, whenever I was introducing myself to a client, I would always say, "Hi, I work with your long distance carrier. I mean, your long term disability carrier."

Another example. I was talking to a friend once and we were discussing elderly people. I was trying to make a point, so I exclaimed, "Do you know how many dead people die?" Ahem.

I come by it naturally. My dad has difficulty with the English language on occasion. Imagine this scene. My dad calls me at work one day to let me know that they have lost an important card for my mom. She had gotten a pacemaker and had to have a medical card with her at all times. So he wanted me to call the company and ask for another. When I asked him for the phone number, he replied, "It's 1-800-CATARACT." Huh? He said that's exactly what it said, "1-800-CATARACT." I asked him to spell it for me. "1-8-0-0-C-A-R-D-I-A-C." Ohhh, funny.

But, my all time favorite happened several years ago. When one of my nephews was younger, he followed my dad everywhere. On this particular occasion, he and dad were in the backyard messing in the garden. Ryan came in the house muttering the same phrase over and over, "Get down down there. Get down down there." My sister-in-law asked him what he was saying. He said he's just repeating what Papaw says whenever Ryan gets in the garden. My SIL very seriously asked, "Ryan, do you know why Papaw talks like he does?" And Ryan, just as seriously, replied, "Yes, it's because he's Chinese." Hahahaha! Since that time, whenever dad says something that we can't understand, we'll ask him to stop speaking Chinese and speak English.