Monday, March 31, 2014

Tender Memories

Since we have sold our home, and will be needing to be quite frugal to fulfill our upcoming mission, we have made the commitment to reduce all of our earthly possession down to four sturdy boxes. One box will be filled with genealogy.  One will be filled with pictures.  Once will be scrapbooks, journals and other special memories. The last will be important legal documents.

For the last couple of days I've been going through the drawers of my vanity.  Every card, letter and announcement has been going into that vanity for years.   So each item in those drawers are being reviewed and sorted.  Every darling scribbled drawing, thank you note and homemade card from my precious loved ones, every note of encouragement and support from my cherished friends, every announcement, Christmas letter and yearly family photo and every single love note given to me by my beloved.  4 sturdy boxes.

Its a tender, difficult and incredibly sacred experience.

I found the letters from our oldest daughter while she was served in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm and our middle daughter's regular reports of how she was doing in bootcamp prior to her assignment in Iraq.  I remember how I looked for those letters to calm my heart and confirm that they were both alive and well.  I cried over them then, and I cried over them now.

I found the sweetest little drawings and thank-you cards from little grandchildren.

I found a funny little Halloween story about scary pumpkins and heroic little boys from my brave little son.

I found loving letters from our youngest girl who always felt the need to apologize for the smallest of infractions, silly child.

I found those yearly birthday cards from a loving mother so dearly missed.

...and every single card and letter my beloved ever sent me.

Yep, I'm keeping them.  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF EM.




Friday, March 28, 2014

Heading to Paradise...

This is what I posted on Facebook on Monday:


Ron and I have received our packet from Salt Lake.  We are excited to announce that we have been called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus-Christ of Lattter-day Saints in  the (are you ready for this?) Hawaii Honolulu Mission, with the primary assignment at "The Polynesian Cultural Center - Physical Facilities Department" in Laie, Oahu.  Many know, but in case you do not, that the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), which is based on the east side of Oahu, is a part of Brigham Young University - Hawaii and that it's primary purpose is to showcase the varied lands and cultures of the Pacific Islands while providing training, employment and cultural preservation for the students of BYU-H - most of whom are from the varied Pacific Islands represented in the Cultural Center (Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Marqueses, Tonga, and Aeortearoa).  


Yep.  We are going to paradise. We report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on August 4th and one week later, fly out to Oahu.

We honestly did not think that we were going there.  We had made a request to serve abroad and we were so sure that we were preparing to sell all of the cars, get rid of cellphones, and turn into vagabonds.  Being that we are going to a tiny little island in the middle of the Pacific, some of those things will still prove true - but we are definitely going to be in an established and 1st world environment, so we are going to end up maintaining some of the trappings that go along with that. 

Still, as exciting as it all seems with this assignment to what could be considered a Mormon Shangri-la :-) , we clearly understand that we are going on a mission to serve the Lord.  You won't find us doing the hula in grass skirts... THATs for sure (sigh of relief from EVERYONE.)  .  

So, what are we going to do in paradise?  WELLLLLLLL, it seems that PCC is converting their very large facility over to an on-line Building Automation System (BAS). Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), Ron is trained and experienced in this very system.  So, you see, it all makes sense.  It appears that his service and knowledge is very much needed.

So what is Nina going to do?  I don't know yet.  I think this is a test, actually.  I was so prepared for throwing off temporal comforts to serve Heavenly Father as the early disciples - giving all, gaining humility, pushing the edges of comfort and security.  Seriously, I thought to myself, I've been preparing for that for years now.

But my plan was obviously not God's plan.  I think perhaps I am going to learn a more realistic form of humility, a different version of service.  One that doesn't thrive off of physical sacrifice, but rather from giving up those things that are far more difficult for me - pride, control and ego.  Can you imagine?  Heavenly Father actually knows me so well that he reckons that I will be better, serve better and accomplish more by learning that His direction and will is more exquisite that I ever thought possible.

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Just thought I'd keep it here for posterity sake.

It's a week later.  I have gone through every emotion I can imagine.  I'm trying to keep my head down and to plow through - because when I am emotional, I do best focusing and checking off  things on my ever-present 'to do list'.  And we have a lot of 'to do's - both in getting ready (studying, immunizations, Preach My Gospel and scriptures) and in breaking free of the world in which we live in (cleaning house, selling 'stuff', finishing up our jobs while still DOING our jobs - ya know what I mean?).  But who knew that the hardest part was the transitioning?  Its difficult for me to imagine what life will be like, especially since I hadn't imagine this particular mission at all.  It's kind of like having to hit 'reset'.

Ron and I were studying last night when we came across these scriptures in Alma 5:

26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a achange of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the bsong of redeeming love, I would ask, ccan ye feel so now?
 27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves ablameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently bhumble? That your garments have been ccleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to dredeem his people from their sins?
 28 Behold, are ye stripped of apride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
 29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped ofaenvy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare bquickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
I've been so excited about our mission - singing that song of redeeming love, as it were, right up to the moment we opened the packet and it said 'here' not 'there'.  
You know, I'm not being asked to die, but I am being asked, now that the circumstances are different, can I feel it now?  Am I sufficiently humble?  Am I stripped of envy?  Sadly, the answer at this point is "no".  
Maybe the most crazy part of all is that I suspect that people may not understand.  "Oh boy, PARADISE", they say.  "Well boo hoo hoo for you!"  As I said to the kids, it's an embarrassment of riches.  See, the thing is, I don't really 'do' paradise.  When I'm with Ron, sure - we go to nice places, but that's because he loves (and deserves) to kick back - and while he's kicking back, I bring my work computer.  It all works out well. 
Yet, when I'm given a choice, I'm off to help the kids or to work a clinic somewhere that.....somewhere that..... NEEDS me.  That's probably it, I am so uncertain whether they actually NEED me.  They NEED Ron, which is wonderful.  That doesn't mean they DON'T need me, it just means that I don't have all of the information yet.  It means I am unable to set a picture in my mind of what life will be like.  I'm over here on the edge hanging on to a little piece of string - I know where I'm going, but not much more than that.  This is sooooooooo against my nature.
So what am I to do?  It says right there in 29.  I am to"prepare quickly".  
And I know in my heart that this is exactly true.  Throw the expectations to the side, Sister - I have NOTHING to complain about and what Heavenly Father has set up is so much grander that what my limited, puny human brain ever thought possible.
So, ready, set, GO!  This is the last time you'll hear me complain....honest!  Well, at least about THAT.  Packing up  and cleaning the house?  Can't promise I'll stay mum on that one.