Monday, April 14, 2014

More News from Katelyn


My favorite talk was also Elder Holland's talk, he just kind of slaps you in the face. I love it!

Ok one of the biggest things that annoys me being out here are the members!! Each night when we have dinner, we share a message and challenge them to invite someone to something that's church related. When we do that a lot of people get super offended because they think we're just passing our work off to them! NO! We are asked to do that by general authorities! And people think the missionaries are more spiritually inclined than everyone else because we're wearing the name tag. The only difference between us and members is a name tag.. That's it. Don't expect the missionaries to do everything. We need help. I don't think people realize how much work we have to do each day. And when we're having dinner all the members want to do is sit and chat. That's another no-no. They need to allow us to share a message and talk about missionary work. We rely on the members to help give referrals. Members should offer to help in anyway they can.

~Sister Graham

She also sent a couple of pictures. The first is with her companion at the Mesa Temple Easter Pageant. The second is with her companion and the ashtray one of their investigators gave them when she committed to quit smoking.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kate Sent Pictures

This will be a brief blog up-date from Katelyn...just like her weekly e-mails, brief. I think she must have spent her computer time last week uploading pictures because that is about all we got.

First up, she wanted us to know that she wasn't starving and that her pantry is full. Apparently they love the dollar store there. But after looking at the food in her pantry, I know why she was wanting some dieting tips. I suggested she go to a more paleo diet. From the pictures, it looks like she didn't like that idea.

The next picture is one she titled "slightly embarrassing war wound". I think it is from when she crashed on her bike. She must have recovered sufficiently because there wasn't very much description with the picture or the story, just "I crashed"

Apologies for the sideways picture. Blogger wouldn't download the picture when I rotated it. Weird.

And final picture is a 3rd verse for the hymn "Called to Serve
So aside from a bike crash and too many processed foods (in my opinion), she seems to be doing great. She continues to enjoy the work and sharing the good news of Christ.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quotes for Today

I shared these quotes in the letter I wrote to Katelyn today. To me, they all were connected; although I did not draw the connection for Katelyn because I wanted her to come to her conclusions on what that connection might be.

Quote 1
Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't. --Steve Maraboli

Quote 2
As we temporarily endure the challenges we can solve and as we continue to endure the challenges we cannot solve, it is important to remember that the spiritual strength we develop will help us successfully endure all the challenges we face in life.-- Elder Richard J Maynes 

Quote 3
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr  

Scripture and Song:

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

Lead, Kindly Light
Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead, thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distance scene, one step enough for me

So long the pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since,
and lost awhile!

Where is the connection for all these? For me, it is simply in that the only things we can control is the things we have power over (like our choices, attitudes, faith, etc). Difficulties and challenges will arise that will often having us seeking control over things that we just don't have power over. We need God to help us accept that we don't have that power or control, endure those things and strengthen us along the way. If we seek for His guidance, He will guide us with his light and give us courage to face the dark. Our vision of how things might/should be is often clouded and skewed; God's vision is perfectly clear and we need to rely and trust in that.

So what do you think? What do you draw from these quotes, scripture and song? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

16 Felt Harder than 21

Last week I ran my longest ever run. I went 21 miles (well, technically 20.65 but close enough). I have to say that I felt pretty darn good for most of that run. I tried some new fueling techniques. Here's what I did:
  • Mile 3:  about 3 sips of flat Coke
  • Mile 6:  one Gu (vanilla, I think) and 3 sips of water
  • Somewhere between mile 9 and 10:  3 more sips of Coke
  • Mile 12:  another Gu (Jet Blackberry flavor)
  • Somewhere between mile 15 and 16:  more Coke
I think I took another Gu about mile 18, but I can't remember for sure. I really liked that routine and felt pretty good mentally (no cloudy thinking). I also didn't seem to have an GI issues following that routine. I was physically tired, but I suppose that is to be expected when you run almost 21 miles. Feeling that good running that far was a pretty good confidence booster.

I need to remember that run because this week's run sucked! It was only 16 so it shouldn't have felt so dang hard, but we picked a really tough route that kicked my trash today. The first mile and a half was good, but then we hit the hills going towards the county park and in the dark, they felt like they were never going to end! Instead of heading down into the county park, we stayed to the left and went up, up, up Idaho Road. We stayed on that until we hit Mission. I thought I had remembered that Mission was just down, down, down. It is mostly that but you do have to climb for about 1/2 mile before you get the nice down, down, down. Ugh! I was dying by time we hit the intersection of Mission and Molter and we still had 8 miles to go. Fortunately for the second 8 miles it was a flat route and I was able to finish, but man it was hard. Felt more tired today than last week.

I also was messing with my fueling a bit, too. I wanted to see how I would do without the Coke and all of the Gu's. I can tell you...not good. Having the sips of Coke every so often is like having a caffeine drip. And the fact that the Gu's I take also have caffeine, with the jet blackberry having a double shot. Anyway, today I was using Dots candies and water for most of the run. And while they were a good carb source I missed the boost of the caffeine. So for next week's 22-miler, I'll be carrying Coke, water and Gu's.

Oh, why the Dots you might be wondering? Well, those dang Gu's are about $1.50 a piece and I'm cheap so I was trying to find an alternative fuel source that would be cheaper. Plus I just like Dots and figured I could stand to eat a handful of  those every 3 miles.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Update from Kate

Katelyn makes furry friends everywhere she goes.

So yeah. Miracle baptism. There was this investigator named Dean and he had been an active nonmember for like 15 years. Crazy. He had refused all that time to join the church, not exactly sure why but that's what he did. His daughter turned 8 a few months ago and had a date set for her baptism but then refused to be baptized unless her dad would do it. Even after hearing this he still refused to convert. THEN all of a sudden he did a 180 flip. He talked to the bishop and asked if he could be baptized. (this was the crazy week one) but he never had the missionary discussions, so he wasn't ready (the interview went very badly). When people asked him if he'd had the lessons he said yes, because he thought they were talking about church lessons. So we started teaching him. Even in the week that we taught him he changed. BIG TIME!! So like I said, miracle baptism. It was funny. On the last lesson, his wife had called asking what it would be on, we told her it would be the commandments and Dean said "Yeah, I think I'm good on the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity, so you can just skip over those if you want." Well we did and at the end of the lesson he goes, "Umm... What about tattoos? Because I just got this one this morning.." I'll send you a pic of it. It was fake, obviously, but I died! I was laughing so hard! Weird to think that a few months previous he was slamming the door in my companion's face and now he's joking with us!

Can you tell what dog that is? I have another picture of it that I'll send. I'm allowed on Facebook 1 hour everyday except for Mondays. That's why I haven't been able to post any pictures on Facebook yet, because we only really have access to the computers on Mondays because that's when the Family History room is open. The person who's supposed to give us the key to it is very old and keeps forgetting. I didn't see that grandpa was learning how to quilt. I have to unfollow everyone except missionaries. The online rules are very strict.

I don't go to the Mission Home. With mail that's sent there they give it to the Zone leaders who cover my area. We have Zone meetings every Tuesday and Wednesday. I was starting to worry I had put the wrong address on the letters because I hadn't heard anything from you. Also, I need my inhaler.. Can you get a refill for me. We had to bike to Dean's interview, which was about a 4 mile bike, but we were running late so we were booking it and my asthma was acting up. Luckily the zone leader was there and he heard my breathing and it scored us 100 extra miles! So I guess asthma was a good thing this time.

The days are very busy. I'm running out of time for the computer, but I'll send you a pic of a typical day next week.

~Sister Graham

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can You Relate?

I'm so very glad that today's technology wasn't available when I was in high school. I did enough damage without it. I also suffered enough at the hands of others without it.

Those experiences from high school (well really starting in junior high school) were painful and awful. But looking back I can see some lessons that I have learned.

First, the words you say spread like feathers on the wind and no matter how hard you try to gather them all in and make things better, you can't possibly gather them all. So it's better to be positive and uplifting with your words right from the start.

Second, the reputation you graduate from high school with will be the reputation you have when you return for high school reunions. You may have changed the path of your life and your behavior may have taken a 180 degree turn but that is not what your high school classmates will see. They will see you how they remember you.

But I have also learned that doing what is right is more important than fitting in. That's part of growing up, right? Now,I struggle to have patience with people who are exclusive and "cliquey". I try to be cognizant of those who are on the fringe and seek ways to help them feel understood and heard. I am learning to speak up for those who don't have the strongest voice and are overlooked.

I thank Heavenly Father every day for sending me Katelyn because she comes by love, grace and acceptance naturally. She is a wonderful example to me since I have to work on those things (love, grace, acceptance) every day; my high school self is always lurking in the background just waiting for an opportunity to be ugly and show how cool I am by bringing others down.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent Means Time for Self-improvement

Lent has come at a good time of year for me this year.

I find myself at a bit of a crossroads, or at least approaching a crossroads. In a short time, I will go from being a mom 24/7 giving daily love (or "s"mothering) to still being mom, but the visible, daily acts won't be there. It is a strange position to realize that part of my identify, who I am, won't be at the forefront anymore. If I'm honest, it freaks me out a little. Who will I be next when I don't have to be "mom" 24/7?

So back to Lent. While my denomination does not require official participation in Lent, I do take this time to take inventory of what vices, habits, personality quirks I should work on giving up for the next 40 days so that I might draw closer to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. To me, that is the purpose of Lent--a time for spiritual discovery through fasting (giving up those bad things) and prayer; a way to become one with God.

Unfortunately, I am a slow learner and often wind up with the same character flaws needing improvement year after year.

Need to avoid sarcasm? Check.
Need to be faster with a kind word? Check
Need to avoid negative self-talk/thinking? Check
Need to increase my time devoted to scripture study? Check
Need to pray daily? Check

And that is just the short list. So why do the same things show up over and over again when I know that the presence of sarcasm, hurtful words, negative self-talk and the absence of scripture study and daily prayer (among other things) keep me from being totally in tune with God and His plan for me? Well, here is an embarrassing, but honest, admission...maybe up until this point I haven't wanted it badly enough.

As I was thinking about that question "why the same things over and over?", I realized that I always paid lip-service to wanting to be closer to my Savior and Heavenly Father, but did I want it badly enough to really work to improvement? Maybe, maybe not. If I was serious in my dedication would I do better about making time to read my scriptures? Would I make daily prayer a priority? I think that honest answer is "yes". So I've been lazy. I've be able to get away with just going through the motions. Please don't get me wrong here. I do love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for all that I have been given. I just could do better.

I need to do better. As I approach this crossroads, I need my Savior to walk this road with me and show me the way. He will be the light to guide me, but I need to remove the shades that I have put up that cover His presence. I know that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil 4:13), and those things include moving through the crossroads and striving for improvement. His grace covers all.