I have never blogged as much as I have this week! But I am totally being blessed with the most wonderful and uplifting experiences and I just feel the need to document them so future Lauren can look back and remember how special her last week before the mission was.
Today my mom and I went to 9th ward's meetings. We used to be in 9th ward but then our family and a few others got moved to the 1st. We've missed some of those wonderful people, so it was special to spend time with the people I've grown up with. Bishop stood up in sacrament meeting and said "Sometimes in Stake conferences and general conference they take the time to recognize special guests (when do they do that? I don't know, I love him anyways). I want to recognize Lauren who is here with us today. She's no longer in our ward on our roles but will always be in our ward in our hearts and are so proud of her and her decision to serve a mission." It was so special for me. He is such a great guy, I love him.
Later on all of my family came over on my mom's side and we ate food and gathered together in the living room as the men shared some of their favorite mission experiences. Holy. Cow. Most spiritual and touching experience ever. We were all just crying our eyes out. And if there was one thing I took from it, it was this - it's going to be hard. Really hard. I may never see the results of my labor and it may feel hopeless. But Heavenly Father is real and loves me and everything will turn out. I am so grateful for the men in my life who are such great examples to me.
After our missionary night, I ran over to Shanae's to have a final cake Sunday before I leave. I told Shanae how much I loved when we fondued in high school so she did it for me tonight (love her). I seriously have the best friends in the world. I'm happy that even though we all hang out with different people now, we are still close knit. I, like I did with Alise, told them I'd 'see them tomorrow' and gave quick hugs. I am so bad with goodbyes that this is just how it has to go down. Lying to ourselves. Hopefully all of my dear friends know how much I appreciate them because truly I am one blessed girl!
Yesterday I spent the day in Provo to see a few of my favorite people for the last time. It was a really simple (but wonderful) day. I did a session in the Provo temple with Naomi, took Alise to Zupas, painted our nails with my sister, visited the Games Center, had a ron-day-vu (not lookin up how to spell that, carry on) with Mack on the side of the road, went to the BYU / St. Mary's basketball game, and sat on Larsen's lap at South 7 (Where he so nicely said "Can you switch to my other leg so I can see the TV?). I gave my final hugs to my favorite boys, told Alise "See ya later!", (We decided we were going to pretend we were going to see each other again in a few days so we wouldn't get emotional.) and drove home. My heart was so full and grateful for the wonderful people in my life that I decided to try to do something that I heard in a fireside once.
The speaker at the fireside said that when he would go on long drives he would try to spend the whole drive expressing things he was grateful for. I thought back then that sounded wonderful but never actually did it.
It only took about three minutes of me listing out loud the simple and non-simple things I was grateful for before I was crying my eyes out. Maybe it's that I am leaving on a mission in 3 days that has me so emotional and sentimental but it was such a special thing to do on that drive from Provo to South Jordan. I am SO BLESSED. I liked doing it because it forced me to think of things that I normally wouldn't think of being grateful for. Such as...
+belonging to a church that does so much service and humanitarian aid
+that my grandpa loves doing genealogy so much so i always have family names to do
+that all of my limbs work & work well
+for nice, genuinely kind people who do simple things like let you get in front of them in line at the grocery store, or let you change into their lane
+for my professor stanley johnson who helped me develop a stronger love for the scriptures
+that my parents are good with budgeting their money so we never have to go without and i know if i ever need help with money i will be able to go to them for help.
+always having a good job where the people are fun and i love them
Etc. It was just an eye opening thing for me. I've always thought about the question "What if you woke up with only what you told Heavenly Father 'thank you' for in last nights' prayer?" and tonight made me realize how much we are blessed with as His children. And I bet I didn't even make a dent in it. Maybe I'll do it on my flight to Singapore? Then I will just be sobbing and no one will want to be my friend or take a Book of Mormon from me. A+ plan, LC.
Yesterday was my last day at Target, my place of employment since the ripe ol' age of seventeen (Maybe that's the reason all of the guests think I'm still in high school. Target is somehow the fountain of youth for me and has frozen me for time and all eternity!). It was nice for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, we practical joked people. The tripod opened the store together (The cute name Stephanie gave the Rachel+Stephanie+Lauren combo) which is always fun and we ended up with this huge box after unpacking accessories. Rachel said she wanted to get in it really badly, and I supported that decision. This escalated to sticking Stephanie inside and tricking people into helping Rachel "lift this really heavy box" in the backroom. I pretended I was throwing cardboard away and did not talk at all because, let's be real, I'd blow our cover real fast. I laughed so hard I cried, however. Which blew our cover a little bit. People got suspicious real quick.
Oh look, a harmless, gigantic box!
Surprise! Stephanie is crammed inside the box!
Secondly, it was pleasant because Rachel aka cutest boss ever, put together a little "Lauren's leaving and going on a mission" scrapbook and it just touched me so much! Most of the people I work with are non-members but it was so great to hear how excited and supportive they are of me still. So grateful for Target today.
(This was my favorite part. Kevin is the biiiiig store boss. Like the real deal. And he's always kind of intimidated me. I half smile when I see him and keep on walking. So even though I've worked there for like 5 years, don't really know the guy. And as demonstrated by what he wrote me, he has no idea who I am either. Which is hilarious to me. 1. I am not transferring to the Orem store. 2. I have never done any transitioning with you. I am the operator. I answer the phones and make sure people don't steal stuff in the fitting room. Hilarious! I love it!)
1. I never realized how much work farewells are. Me, my mom, and my dad are seriously exhausted. I love my parents so much for doing that for me, though! My mom went the extra mile to make the most delicious food ever (Hello rootbeer and strawberry lemonade cupcakes, you are now my new best friends!), and I totally adore her for that.
2. I never realized how truly wonderful they are, either. It seriously was so overwhelming to see so many people there to support me. I don't think my house has ever had that many people in it (200! Yeah. Yowza.) I was so nervous that people weren't going to come cause A) it was snowing, B) during my Provo ward's church meetings and C) far away for some people to drive. But we had the most well attended sacrament meeting since 2007, all other farewells included. I got so emotional sitting on the stands watching more and more people sneak in the back. I feel so lucky to have people in my life who I care for so much and love me enough to support me as I start a somewhat terrifying adventure.
3. I'm grateful for my topic! Personal revelation and testimony. It was the hugest blessing to prepare for that talk because it is so important for me to remember that Heavenly Father is totally ready to lead and guide me, I just need to be prepared to feel His promptings. And it was great to be reminded that testimonies are built through small and simple things, not necessarily marvelous or miraculous events. I loved this quote by President Joseph F. Smith because it so eloquently describes how we should yearn to strengthen our testimonies. “As a boy I would frequently ask the Lord to show me some marvelous thing, in order that I might receive a testimony. But the Lord withheld marvels from me, and showed me the truth, line upon line, until He made me to know the truth from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and until doubt and fear had been absolutely purged from me. He did not have to send an angel from the heavens to do this, nor did He have to speak with the trump of an archangel. By the whisperings of the still small voice of the spirit of the living God, He gave to me the testimony I possess. And by this principle and power He will give to all the children of men a knowledge of the truth that will stay with them, and it will make them to know the truth, as God knows it, and to do the will of the Father as Christ does it. And no amount of marvelous manifestations will ever accomplish this.”
I'm so excited to spend the next 18 months fully dedicated to doing the will of my Heavenly Father as my Savior Jesus Christ did!
Last night Jesse and I spent the night playing Speed (neither of us are very good. That ended real fast), watching movies, and trying to find stories to put into my farewell talk about personal revelation. We didn't find any stories we really liked. So we made up a story about a man named Darn Fishkin and how he wanted to have personal revelation. So he cleaned his house because the Spirit can't dwell in an unclean vessel. It's a work in progress. Main point: we laughed so hard.
I'm not exactly sure why I want to document this, but I do. Also I think the fact that it was 3:00 AM made it a lot funnier to me than it actually was. Regardless I was happy to hang out with Jesse cause I have been socially deprived living by myself in South Jordan. 10 days, chillins!
PS. Future self: Remember how much your mom loves you by how much baking she has done for your farewell. Expected number of people: 200. Cupcakes for that many? Oh sheesh.
PPS. Today I got some glasses. The lady who helped me asked me if I was old enough to drive yet. Win for Lauren!
PPPS. Later on a lady at Target asked me what grade I'm in. IS THIS THE REASON I AM UNWED?! I LOOK LIKE A CHILD?! Okay cool.