Monday, December 5, 2016

Trials on Trials on Trials

It seems as if since I stepped off that airplane from the GKLM life has gotten hard. Not just a little trial here or there, but big trials here, there and everywhere in between.

And while I would like to think that I can handle it on my own and deal with it all myself, I can't. I really just can't. I need my Father in Heaven and I need my Savior Jesus Christ. I need the enabling and redeeming power of the Atonement. I need support, I need help, I need Dennis and I need my family. I really can't do this alone. It was humbling to realize that, again, but it is always so wonderful to realize that again.

Father in Heaven is there for me. Jesus Christ is there for me. They both know exactly what I am feeling, thinking and going through. Christ knows first hand wha I experienced and is waiting for me to reach out to him.

While studying my scriptures today I had the sweetest tender mercy. I have had a harder few weeks. November has just not been my month at all. It started off downhill and the ball kept rolling. I just pray that that ball stops soon because December is my wedding month! I think the ball came to a today though. I was reading in Mosiah 24 and came across verses 13-16. They read:

 13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
 14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
 16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.
These touched my heart so much. I didn't read them like they read above because that is not what they said to me. To me, they said: The voice of the Lord came unto ME in MY afflictions and said: I know of the covenant you have made with me and I remember the covenant I have made with you. I am testing you patience and faith. Allow the enabling power to lift you and guide you. Submit cheerfully to my will. I will deliver you."

And it is true. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I may not have seen that on the paper, but that is what I felt in my heart and that is what the Lord taught me. Trials and challenges are meant to test and try us. They are hard for a reason, but I will always come out stronger on the other side. I am beyond grateful for the scriptures and I know that that is how the Lord speaks to me!

"When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures; for His words are spoken through His prophets. He will then teach us as we listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit." -Robert D. Hales


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Two Years of Temple Blessings

Today marks the two year anniversary of going through the temple!

What a beautiful two years it has been too.

It seems like time seems to FLY by these days.

I am beyond grateful to have been able to enter the House of the Lord and receive the blessings of the endowment. My endowment has helped me so much in overcoming trials and challenges over the last few years. The temple brings so much peace and happiness into my life and I am thrilled that we have these holy houses on the Earth again. It truly is a piece of heaven on Earth!

I am grateful for the restored gospel and that it has been given to us here again. I am thankful for a prophet who receives revelation and leads and guides us. I know that this is Christ's church on the Earth today. He stands at the head of it. In the temple, we do the work of salvation first for ourselves and then for those who have passed on. That is one of the greatest blessings! :)

Endowment day! Mom, Leslie and I were all blessed to be endowed on the same day! :) 


Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I cannot believe how the time has passed. Some days it feels like yesterday that I opened my call to serve in the GKLM. Others, it feels like an eternity ago. I still cannot believe it has been two years. Wow how time rolls on.

Over the past two years I have been put through a spiritual microwave (to say the least). There have been so many ups and downs, bumps and smooth patches, bliss and anguish. But through it all, I have come to know just WHO my Savior is to me. He is my older brother, my best friend, my confidant, my advocate, my Redeemer. I have come to somewhat understand and comprehend the Atonement and what it means to me personally. I have learned how to love unconditionally, see people through the Savior's eyes and become something greater. There are countless blessings. As I begin to think about this journey I am overwhelmed with emotion. My heart is so full. I am beyond grateful for my mission and the experiences it brought me.

Little did I know two years ago the blessings I would have today from opening up that letter from 47 E South Temple Salt Late City, UT. Little did I know the journey that I was getting myself into. Little did I know what my mission would do for me, for my life, for my future family and children. It truly changed the course of my life forever. My mission set the spirit tone of my life. I am forever grateful to my Father in Heaven for allowing me this opportunity.

... and two years after the call came, my life has been changed forever. I have been home for two months now. I have gone, served faithfully, come home, and returned honorably. Life continues to move forward. I am happily engaged to the love of my life, Dennis, and looking forward to being married on December 30, 2016!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Birthday Weekend!

Happy 26th Birthday to my love!

This past weekend Dennis and I were able to meet up in SLC for a fun weekend! Not only were we celebrating his birthday, but we got to see each other after two weeks of straight Facetiming! I was SO excited. I couldn't wait!
(I am pretty sure my roommates think I am a total loser because all I do is sit in my room and do homework and FaceTime Dennis. LOL I don't even care.)

Friday night we crashed because of all the traveling, but Saturday was packed full.

It started with Lucy and catching up with her! It was so wonderful to see Lucy! The last time I saw her was in the MTC! How nuts! :) She is so awesome!

We ventured up and over to temple square to 'run into' Emma, one of Dennis's friends who is serving in the temple square mission. It was so fun to find her! She and her companion gave us a tour of the beehive house and then we went out to lunch! Sister Klippel is the cutest! 

Dennis and I had then planned to go to the Provo City Center temple for a session but when we got there it was closed....? at 2pm in the afternoon? What we hasn't accounted for was the General Women's session of conference. All the temples closed so that the women could attend. It was so sad! We didn't really have anything else planned in until dinner. We ventured over to the mall, got a free dessert from Olive Garden and then went to dinner at Communal, in Provo. It was good, not as good as the reviews say, but good enough. 

We celebrated the Birthday Boy at Waffle Love with a cinnalove with ice cream. Holy Moly. This was delicious. I think it was heaven on a plate. I would definitely go back and order the rest of the menu! 

The night concluded at Velour for our favorite band: THE STRIKE!!! We were both super duper excited for this concert and man, they BLEW IT OUT OF THE PARK! The Strike is always a good time! They performed all of their best songs and even "Do You Wanna Dance" thanks to me. ;) It was a night to remember!

After the show, the guys came out to meet us and we of course had to get a picture. I am still fan girling, ok!? How could I not be?

This weekend was everything I could have asked for and more, especially because I got to spend it with my fiance! I love you so much Dennis Minster & I hope you had the best birthday weekend ever!


Sunday, September 4, 2016

...and we are ENGAGED!

2 September 2016
This weekend was wild. 

Well, here is a little background FIRST:

Dennis and I decided roughly three weeks ago that we were going to get married. So what did we do? We went ring shopping. I told my mom. My mom flipped out for a minute. We planned for the future. He talked to my dad. Dennis got my dad's permission. We called and reserved the temple. We checked out the reception venue. Dennis bought the ring. Dennis left to go back to Vegas to start his masters program, WITH THE RING. My mom and I planned the entire wedding while he was in Vegas.

THIS weekend, we had a food tasting at Coto for the reception and Dennis was able to come to tasting. I was SO grateful because I would have picked the WRONG entree without his help! haha! #FoodieProbs Secretly in my mind I was hoping that he would propose this weekend but I wasn't sure if he was going to. We had facetimed a few nights before and he was asking all of these probing questions that led me to believe he had something up his sleeve!
The conversation went like this: Dennis: "Do you want to go on a date Friday night?"
Madeline: "well I had already planned one so yeah of course. The real question is do you want to be my date Friday night?"
Dennis: "well yes, duh of course! What are we doing?"
Madeline: "I was thinking we would go to dinner at peppinos then go star gazing."
Dennis: "well where is peppinos and where would we go star gazing? Like what location?"
Madeline: "haha why are you so concerned with the location?"
and he proceeded to leave the screen so I couldn't see his sly grin because I knew he was up to something! I had to do everything in my power to not ask a million questions to figure out the plan. I wanted to know what was going on so bad but I also wanted this to be a surprise! The struggle was real for me!

Friday night we headed out to our date. ALL of the plans changed. HAHA. I knew it. I knew something was up. We ate dinner at Del Frisco in the Spectrum. It was delicious! After we made our way over to the orange balloon at the Irvine Great Park. We had been talking about this for TWO YEARS since BWE 2014! Finally everything worked out perfectly. The balloon was open, the night was crisp and it was dark outside, perfect to see the lights of the valley. The setting was gorgeous.

As we sat and waited for our ride on the ballon I started to ask more engagement questions like if he was planning on doing it here or in Vegas next week. He then dropped the bomb on me. HE FORGOT THE RING. YOU HAD ONE JOB DENNIS. ONE JOB. He made up this huge story about how he forgot the ring and he did really really good at convincing me that he actually did. So then of course all of my nerves and anxiety of 'is he going to ask me here?' left. I then asked "So if you were going to do it here, how would you have done it? Since you forgot the ring and all?" and he simply responded "I am done answering these questions!" So I just assumed he was finally getting annoyed of me bugging the crap out of him about the engagement so I dropped it. We loaded the balloon with three other couples, we got to the top and I suggested we take a picture. I turned to look at the view and glanced over and had a mini heart attack because I though Dennis was down on one knee. He wasn't. WHEW. Even though he told me he forgot the ring, deep deep down inside I felt like he didn't. He asked some random guy to take the picture and as I was fixing my hair and getting ready for the picture Dennis looked at me and said "actually wait, before we take this picture I have a question to ask you!" and he got down on one knee and asked me "Madeline, will you marry me?"


I don't know who was more surprised. Me, the guy taking the picture or the guys girlfriend. Their reactions were priceless! He was like "WHOA DUDE!! WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME?" and she was over by him going "OH MY GOSH I CANT BELIEVE THIS!!!" hahahaha! It was the perfect moment.

I love you so much Dennis Jacob Minster. 

After he asked me he stood up and we were about to take the picture and he still hadn't put the ring on my finger yet! Dennis! That is just a minor detail! ;) we got that all situated and as we were about to land we got our picture, finally!

I AM SO EXCITED TO BE Mrs. Minster! :) December 30, 2016 CANNOT COME soon enough!

I guess since the wedding in now planned, we can get engaged. That would probably be a smart idea.

The rest of the night was hilariously wonderful. We went to a karaoke bar, because I am 21 and I can! We ran into my aunt there. THAT was too good. Dennis killed it up at the mic and we had a blast. I love spending time with him and doing crazy things! People watching sober at a bar is too funny. We proceeded to stay up and talk until 5am that morning. We have a wonderful life ahead of us and I couldn't be happier to spend it with you, Dennis! I love you so very much!

Here's to eternity!

so much love!

Friday, August 26, 2016

3201 + Me

Matthew. Cory. Travis. Dennis. 
Three-ish years ago we got really tight. This year they surprised me at my mission homecoming!

2014. Building a HUGE snowman! :) 

I literally could not have asked for ANYTHING greater! It was an incredible surprise and I loved being reunited with these guys! :) 

We spent the night reminiscing of 2014 and laughing our butts off at all of the funny pictures I took. 

 Saturday the boys went to the beach while I visited my grandma Hannah. We ate lunch at Gina's in Laguna. So delicious! We decided to go to the fair that evening! IT WAS A BLAST! It took forever to get in, but once we were in we went wild on some crazy rides. The guys realized they are getting a little old for these types of rides!

To call it a night we finished up at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles! It was SO GOOD! Totally hit the spot after a good long day! :)
after at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles!

Sunday concluded the awesome weekend when I spoke in church about my mission. The main event they came for, haha!
Sunday at my homecoming talk. 

I love these guys so much! :) I am so grateful for their friendship and the ability they have to help me adjust back to civilian life! 


Welcome Home!

I cannot believe how fast the time has FLOWN. Literally it feels like I blinked and I am back. did Kentucky even happen? Was a I really a full time missionary?

Coming home was a unique experience for me. I felt so ready, but not ready at all. I was scared. Terrified. I didn't know if I was ready to come back to the rest of the world.  I didn't know if I knew how to function as a regular human again. I was worried my family would still view me as Maddy from 18 months ago. I CHANGED and I changed a lot. Would they recognize that? Would they accept that? 

Amidst all of this, Sister Brough kept reminding me "you are going home to your family who LOVES YOU!" I didn't understand how much those words would mean until the day I got off the airplane and walked down the stairs to my family who DID LOVE ME and was SO EXCITED to have me home! Not only did they love me and accept me for who I had become, but they too had changed and progressed in the 18 months I had been out serving. 

Coming home was not nearly as scary as I had worked it up to be in my head. I'm home. I am a returned missionary. Now what? APPLY WHAT I HAVE LEARNED.

That is the hard part. No routine. No set schedule. I hate summer. 
I need a routine. I need a schedule. 

The group returning home. I never thought this day would come! Bittersweet!

The night before we boarded the plane and headed our separate ways we stayed in the mission home. We spent the afternoon at the temple, which was so needed. It had been 18 months for me. We all ate dinner together. WE HAD A BLAST. We stayed up literally all night. I think I got maybe 45 minutes of sleep. We hung out with the elders and talked as if we were finishing our senior year of high school and graduating. It was surreal. I hadn't stayed up that late in a LONG time. It was so fun. We goofed off and laughed at iPad videos for hours. I am going to miss this so much. I am coming home with a good group of elders and sisters.

The FIVE missionaries who served in Richmond going home with me.
Me, Elder Viehweg, Elder Waite, Elder Jacobson, Elder Money
Bryner Family: the most amazing family ever! 

Sister Katelyn Rickords and Me (she was my MTC companion)

IT was so humid at the temple. President Brough said "wow this camera is so foggy!! No one knew what he meant until I looked at the picture. This is what we call our celestial glow. Thank you humidity. 

Somewhat better

I boarded the plane the next day. It still didn't feel real. I felt like I was getting a little vacation time from missionary work to see my family and then I would be back in a week. I was able to sit next to Elder Blake and Hermana Little on the first flight. Then when we all had to depart for our second flight, it finally hit me. I was done. This part of my life is over. It has been absolutely incredible and taught me a lot, but now it is time to see if what I taught I internalized. I facetimed my parents and dennis in between my flights and that was so incredible. I needed it. The second flight was so long. SO SO LONG. I thought it would never end. It was an emotional roller coaster. I thought I had all of my tears out before I got to my family, but that didn't happen. haha! One minute I was so happy and excited and looking forward to the future and then next I was super sad and sobbing because I would no longer be Sister Hannah. It was a hard flight. I landed 15 minutes early too. I had 15 minutes to compose myself. I went to the bathroom and pulled up my big girl panties, emailed my dad to make sure they were THERE and then slapped a smile on my face and tried to hide my fear.

Then came the moment I was reunited with my family. IT WAS GLORIOUS. The tears came flooding back. Mom ran up the stairs to come and grab me. She got the first hug. Jeffrey and Daniel dog piled in after that and then Dad got his hug! My family DOES LOVE ME! As if I ever doubted that. But sister Brough's words were true and still are true. I came home to a family that loves me!

I love my momma! 

I love my daddy! 

Jeffrey Facetiming Dennis into the welcome home at the airport!

I love them with all my heart!

Airport Reunion; CHECK

Of course, my first meal home was IN N OUT! I only waited 18 months for this! :) It was just as delicious as I remember! 

On my way home from In N Out I was released as a full time missionary. It was so bittersweet. I felt a literal mantle be lifted off of my shoulders. It was sad. It was hard. I want that mantle back, but I know that it was necessary and that it had to happen. I am excited to be home and see who I am now after all of the amazing lessons I learned in Kentucky! 

We (Paige Sanford, Katelyn Jones and I) hopped in the car and were off to run some errands and cruise! I guess I adjusted well! I jumped right back into stella as if I had never been gone. I do not miss you TIWI! 

Later that night, Dennis came home from work! He was at the house when the girls and I rolled up. This was a sweet part of my night! :) He greeted me with roses and the best Dennis hug I could have asked for. I love this man a lot! 

Comp study lives on with sis jones! :) 
One of the best parts about being home was that 1. I got to see Katelyn Jones because she flew down to surprise me at my homecoming and 2. LESLIE GOYZUETA! We are all RM's now and it honestly felt like I had two companions. We were together all the time and just called each other sister or hermana. hahaha. God is so good! :)

San Diego temple! 

I am so eternally grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission and be Sister Hannah! I know every second was worth it! I am grateful for the experience of serving and look forward to see what the future holds! :)