Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Less than three from the St. James crew.."

It's here.

The day I feel like would never come.

The day I dreaded, and loved.

It's my last day here in the Great White North. I'm not really sure where the time went, or who thought this was a good idea.

This is hard.

I think this definitely harder than coming out. Because I have my family forever, but this people here? I only have bits and pieces, fragments of their lives and hearts because I HAD to be from Virginia! It's like a billion miles away! Do you know how much money it will take me to get back here?! When I come back I'm staying for like...a month!


I have to leave my companion, and my Elders, my wonderful, drive-me-up-the-wall Elders. I will leave good friends, and good-as-family here.

And go back home to my wonderfully insane family that I have missed so much.

I'm torn in two. I want both!!!

But I can't.

So I will have to settle for a "see you later, Canada!" and make a promise to come back someday.
I love you all.
Thanks for sticking with me for so long.

With love (for the last time), from Can-Win

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"My hero she's the last real dreamer I know..."

Recently I have felt like everything is piling on and my stress is amping up.

My time here in the field has dwindled, I have 10 days left.

I don't know what I am going to do with my life. I don't know what I'm going to do when I get home. My family is in the full swing of things, my friends are all at school, my brother will still be in Guatemala, and life here in Canada will keep on going without me. I will no longer have a place where I'll fit. I'll be in limbo again.


And then my wonderful mother emailed me. It wasn't good news. One of my childhood/teenhood friends has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer. That's an ugly word for such a beautiful person. Actually it's an ugly word for any person, but let me paint you a small picture so you know what I mean.

SK moved into my ward when I was...12? I think. (Holy wow, time flies.) Blonde hair, bright eyes, and a creative mind to boot. She came from a family where if they could dream it, they could do/make/become it. And they did. I spent so many hours in her house, dreaming, writing, creating, laughing. It was hard not to when it seemed that they lived and breathed the thrill of endless possibilities. Growing up was a whirlwind of...chaos. But it was so wonderful. We grew a little distant, life has a funny way of doing that. We went in different directions, but she just grew to be even more vibrant than before. She radiated light and goodness. You just felt the kindness coming off her in waves! I don't think I ever heard her say an unkind thing about anyone, ever. She was always strong in God, at least that's the way I always saw it. She was, and still is, the kind of person I wish to become.

She's battling hard things...and I don't know what to do. I haven't talked with her in ages, but I want with all my heart to just tell her: I'm here. If you need it. And if you don't, that's ok. I'm still here.

But for now, I'll continue to pray for her and her wonderful family. That's all I can really do these days.

Alright. I'm off to save souls.

With love, from Can-Win

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Onward and upward, I suppose.
Good thing God loves me so. :) This would be a lot harder without Him.

From The Mixed Up Thoughts of a Soon-to-be RM

20 days!!!!!!
I don't know what to do! I'm freaking out! I'm so excited but I'm so nervous!
Will all of my stuff fit in my suitcases? I don't even know what my travel itinerary is looking like! My clothes and shoes are falling apart. I won't fit into ANYTHING back home...maybe I'll just wear yoga pants for three months and live in the gym. AHHH! I can't wait to see my family! Oh, that will be so weird, I haven't seen them in ages. We're definitely going to have to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. They'll probably hate that, then again it might just be me with a chicken pot pie and a Canadian flag cause everyone will be at school or working. Eh, that's ok. I could do that. I don't know what I'm going to do with all that time...or without being able to see J more frequently. Why is Washington so far away? School will start in 3 months! What am I gonna do? I'm an English major! That's like the 3rd most useless major in the world!! Why did I think that was a good idea?!? Oh right.. I can't do math and science might as well be Latin, oh wait....
I'm gonna need a planner...that would probably be good. I don't want to be a grown up. Too hard! I'm going to need a job to pay for my (eventual) phone, car, roof over my head! Food would also be desirable. Uh, I'm going to be 24 and living with my parents! I'm THAT kid! Actually let's be real, I'm going to be like...27 and living with my parents cause I won't be able to make a living off my useless degree!! AHHH!!!!!
Push that to the back burner and let that simmer for a while..I'm just going to worry about going home, seeing family, learn to function without a companion or a tag, and .....

survive. Yes, that's a good plan. Surviving is good.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"This is really volleyball!!!!!" -Sis Smith

 Nothing gets a missionary fired up like sports. It's the one time we can take our skirts and ties off, and expend some serious pent up energy. (Not the we have a reservoir of energy to use, it's just that that's about as close to normal feeling as we can get. So we get a little crazy.)

Recently we've been trading in our soccer nets for a volleyball, and THAT has been so fun. Nothing like a bunch of missionaries who don't really know the rules, who only kind of understand what's going on. Basically it's a free for all on each side of the net, and points are scored if the opposite team misses. :) That's it, that's all.

One thing that I've noticed and really loved is one phrase that has seemed to become our mantra for sports and missionary life: "Play on!"

If the ball hits the ceiling, it's fine! "Play on!" If you hit the volleyball with your head and it goes over, perfect! "Play on!" If you hit it more than three times before it goes over, who cares?! "Play on!"

Here's the moral of the story: When you hit a bump in the road, play on! When you mess up a little, (or a lot), play on! That's what the Atonement is for! It was never about how many times you fell, but how many times you got back up and kept. moving. forward.

Is it hard? Yes. Do you sometimes feel like throwing in the towel? Yes. But that's part of life; learning, growing, and coming out the better for it.

So, dear readers, keep those heads high.
Work out your problems with the Lord.
And don't forget to play on. :)

With love, from Can-Win

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Could the maker of the stars hear the sound of my breaking heart?"

Oh hey,

Remember that time I actually WROTE a blog post?

...Yeah, me either.

This week has brought a lot of insanity. I'm getting ready to come home soon, and that is such a strange thought. But I've been reflecting on the things I've learned, the things that have stirred the sweet little spirit inside me.

The biggest one I would have to say has been prayer.

I struggle with prayer. Some days it's hard for me to believe that anyone even cares about my problems, my wants, my struggles, let alone will listen and respond to the whisperings of my heart. Some days I feel alone, like He's not there, and my prayers are left on His voicemail.

But that's not true!!!!

He listens!! He hears every single whiney, tear-filled, angry, joyful word that is sent through our connection. He hears everything! He responds, it's just sometimes I'm so caught up in myself and my fears and doubts that I miss His answer all together.  That's hard. For Him and I. But we work through it, and I carry on.

So this is a short post, but it's filled with every ounce of testimony I have on this subject.

We are children of God. We pray to the Father, and the Father hears and answers us.
Never the way we want.
Never in the timing we want.

But He does listen.

And that is a fact.

With love, from Can-Win

Monday, July 7, 2014

"If you find it's me you're missing..."

Life moves on, and I move with it.

This week I will be leaving my beloved Wildwood SK, for the great familiar Winnipeg. There are pros and cons to this. The biggest are these: I have so many people I loved and left in Winnipeg that I will get to see again...I have so many people I love and will leave here.

My heart is totally torn in two.

So this one goes out to Saskatoon:

You were so good. After having just a hard time, and not really knowing what I was doing, or how I fit, you helped me figure it out. You helped put me back in contact with the God I felt so far from, just by loving me as He does. I know some of you might be snickering and shaking your heads, but it's true. You were so very good to me, and I loved every crazy minute.

So this one is for all the Friday night dinners we spent laughing, talking, watching performances put on by Snippy Snap, and drinking quite a bit of pop. This is for all those Tuesday morning laundry visits, and long conversations about everything over lunch. (And that husband that stalks missionary blogs!) This one goes out to all those families that took my companion and I in and let us exchange service for family time. You'll never know just how much that kept us sane. This is for those rounds of Phase 10, fixing the kitchen, going to game night, going to the temple, and all the ways you let me serve you.

This post is pretty much one HUGE big thank you to everyone in the Wildwood ward who loved me, joked with me, gave me things, memories, and advice.

I cant even tell you how much of my heart I'm leaving with you.

I'm gonna miss you all like crazy.

With love, from a Wild Sister

Friday, June 13, 2014

"Please don't fight these hands that are holding you..."

Recently I have found music that has made me stop and think. Which, quite frankly, isn't that uncommon. In fact I would say it's more common than not that I learn about my relationship with God through music. My roommate (who actually hasn't been my roommate for 2 years but I still call her that) says it's funny, because lyrics have always been a thing for us. It's always been a way that we receive clarity, inspiration, peace, and joy. I guess it would make sense that the Lord would make use of that.

So here I am....

In Canada.

A missionary.

Struggling with ups and downs.

And listening to music to find peace. 

"Why are you looking for love? Why are you still if I'm not enough? Please don't fight these hands that are holding you..."

Oh hey there, Heavenly Father..

I think the thing that hit me hardest about those lyrics was the question: "Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?" He is enough. He is everything. And in my human weakness I fail to see that most of the time. I think maybe sometimes I break His heart just a bit with the way I casually turn to everyone but Him for the answers to my questions, problems, fears, and frustrations.

"To where will you go, child?"

I don't know. I don't know where I would go. His arms are safest. His heart provides the most comfort.

I don't know why I would choose to go anywhere else.

But I do.

I should fix that.

Alright. Off to be someone's missionary, and maybe ponder life as I know it a little more carefully.

Love you all.

With Love, from Can-Win.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Amazing Grace

This is going to be a lengthy post, A) because I have such strong feelings on this subject, which leads to B) I have so much I want to say.

(Now is the point in the program where those who do not wish to continue onward may close a browser, mosey on to something else, or "accidentally" shut the computer off. For the rest of you still reading, take luck.)

I have a very hard time when I hear people say, "Oh, well, that's all fine and dandy but the Atonement doesn't cover what I've done. I can't be forgiven."


I just..I hear that-and it kind of makes me want to punch myself in the face. A lot. It just-ah!-it bothers me so much! Why, you may ask?


It's a lie. A falsehood. It's not true. It's the absolute antithesis of pretty much everything The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints believes/teaches, not to mention goes against everything Jesus Himself taught. He didn't condone sin, but He never condemned the sinner.

Think about this: God loves us. We are literally His children, and He wants us to be happy. In order to attain happiness we had to come to earth, play on a field that is unfamiliar to us, and is littered with spiritual land mines. There are so many things designed to distract and neutralize us, to confuse us about our divine identity, to mislead us to think that wickedness really is happiness. So here's my next question: Do you really think God would send us here without providing something that would cover all of us?

Don't get me wrong, I understand that there are some mistakes that are big ones, I'm talking the big, ugly, awful, horrible things. But do you really think a loving God would just shrug His shoulders and say, "Ooo, the Atonement only covers up to this point. You just barely passed that. I'm sorry, the Savior doesn't cover you."


That just doesn't add up to me.

In the Bible, there are countless stories of the Lord associating and forgiving those who had done some of those big, awful, evil things. His message was always a message of love and redemption; His life's mission was amazing grace.

"And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children who belong to the family of Adam." (2 Nephi 9:21)

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pain and the sickness of his people." (Alma 7:11)

"And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yes, infinite and eternal." (Alma 34:14)

Does that sound like limited coverage to you?

Now, this being said, there is a difference between feeling like you can't be forgiven, and not really wanting to be forgiven. There are those who don't really desire to find their way back to the fold of God. That's their choice, and I will respect it. But to those who want to come back, who desire to be forgiven, and whose fear is keeping them moving forward: You can be forgiven. You can come back. 

It's hard to feel like you can return to a merciful God who is perfect with your inner soundtrack saying you can't, that you're worthless, that you went too far, that God does not want you back, that your mistakes can't be forgiven and forgotten. I know it is hard, the road back is always hard, but it is possible.

Jeffrey R. Holland said, "I testify that you have not travelled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines." (-Gen Conf April 2012)

This is the glorious message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a message of love, healing, and hope. This is the message that resounds loudest in my ears.

In the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni exhorts or encourages us with these words: 

 "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him..."

I love these words. "Be perfected", not "be perfect".  Being perfected is a process, and that takes time, and repentance. 

So, this post is dedicated to all my home-boys and girls, who feel like it can't be done. False. It can be done. That's the beauty of amazing grace. 

If you need help, ask your parents, ask your bishop, ask the missionaries!
They can help you.

Come home. 
You're missed here.

With Love, from Can-Win