Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dear Sister Hannah,

The day is FINALLY HERE.

Today is the day I go home to open the envelope that holds the next 18 months of my life.  

WOW. 
So many emotions. 

I woke up and it was raining! I love the rain.  I love falling asleep to it, I love playing in it, I love every aspect of it.  I had to take a test before anything so I went and took my biology test.  I did well, 90%, and then came home and packed.  I still had so much time to kill.  I wasn't supposed to leave until 1:30pm.. it was only 11:30am.  Kristi, Ally and I decided to go to the temple to do baptisms.  When we got there, we were saddened to see that the baptistry was already closed because of the women's conference later tonight.  Bummer! We came back home and I wasted some more time, fixing my hair, getting ready to drive down to SLC and then I headed to Dennis's to get a blessing before I headed out.  The blessing was so powerful and he said things that I needed to hear.  I love blessings because of that.  I didn't tell him that I was struggling with accepting where ever I am called, but in the blessing he blessed me that I would have a confirmation that I would know I am going where I am going because I am supposed to be there.  I am so grateful for priesthood blessings and that Dennis lives his life in such a way where he can receive that specific revelation.  The time came when I had to get on the road and I said my goodbyes and headed out.  

I last all of about 15 minutes before it was a constant stream of tears down my face.  From about Rigby, ID all the way to Salt Lake City, UT it was happy tears and sad tears.  Excited tears and worried tears.  I went back and forth from "Oh my gosh!!! I am going on a mission!!!" to "oh my gosh.. I am going on a mission... holy cow."  I am ready to be off this emotional roller coaster to say the least!  (but I know I am not getting off any time soon...)  The entire drive down, I also kept having the feeling that I was going to South America... like I was seriously convinced. The car ride wasn't as long as I thought it would be, but it was as emotional as I thought it would be.  It poured all the way from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake.  Rainy roads + sobbing eyes wasn't the best combination, but I made it safely to the airport.  


I was flying JetBlue and so I already had my boarding pass, I wasn't checking any bags and I was hungry.  Straight to the security line I went.  I got through in about 5 minutes and then had a hour to kill before my flight took off.  I went and got PeiWei for dinner and ran into Brother and Sister Stapleton from the Saddleback YSA ward! I was excited to see a familiar face! Surprise, they were on my flight too! How awesome! 

The flight was the LONGEST flight of my life... like seriously all 100 minutes of it felt like eternity.  I was so so so excited to land and be picked up so I could run home and open my call! I was so close. SO CLOSE.  

My mom picked me up from the airport and I was anxious to get my booty home! She surprised me with the cutest presents.  She got me two sets of stationary for investigators, a scripture-a-day calendar and my very own set of mission scriptures, WITH my name engraved on them- Sister Madeline Hannah! I was and still am so excited for all of it! :) I love every single part! 

FINALLY, after hitting some traffic, I arrived home! 

OH MY GOSH. 
I have my call... in my very hands. 

THIS is so real.  

Where in the world?! Can't even contain my excitement.



I had to wait for everyone to get there and get Dennis on FaceTime.  I didn't want the most important people in my life to miss this!! 

It was finally finally finally time! 
The moment I have been waiting for since July 1st!

Finally time to open the envelope! 
I can't even believe this is happening to me right now. 

"Dear Sister Hannah:"
"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
"You are assigned to labor in the Kentucky Louisville Mission." 

"Please report to the Provo MTC on January 7th, 2015.  Prepare to preach the gospel in the English Language."


 shock. JOY. relief.


I can't even believe this is real life! 

I am going to Kentucky!!! 


It's official. I am going to be a sister missionary! 

Opening my call was such a special experience.  The feelings of confirmation were real and strong.  Being surrounded by my family and closest friends was exactly what I needed! I am so grateful for all of those who were there with me. 
I am so thankful for all of these wonderful people in my life!  
  • My mom & dad for all of the support that they have given me my entire life.
  • My Aunt Ronnee, Declan, Dailee and Damon, even in their PJ's!
  • Anne Chun, for being a second mom growing up.
  • Leslie and Katie, the two best friends I could have ever asked for.  #babesquad
  • Brother and Sister Christensen, the most amazing YW president I could have ever asked for and amazing husband. 
  • Paige Sanford, Brother and Sister Sanford, for being there since the beginning of reactivation and helping me through so much! 
  • My dear best friend, Dennis, and my sweet roommates Ally, Aggie and Estela.  I was able to FaceTime them in and was so grateful they were able to see me open my call and feel that sweet spirit too! :)
  • Sadly, my brothers were at the homecoming dance, but I was able to share my good news with them when they got home! I am sad they missed it, but they know where my heart and testimony is! I love them dearly! 
mommacita

 babesquad

my amazing YW president, Sister Melanie Christensen

Paigey, been there for it all! 


my cute aunt and cousins! 



I could not have imagined this experience any other way.  I am so beyond excited to go and serve the people of Louisville in January! I am relived that my call is stateside and English speaking, but ultimately I would have gone wherever the Lord called me.  I know my call was assigned by Him, through prayer.  I cannot wait to get out there and serve! Here is to the best 18 months of my life! :) 

XOXO,
Sister Hannah


Friday, September 26, 2014

IT CAME! IT IS HERE!!!!!!!!

trying to sneak a peak... haha
it is really here! :)


IT FINALLY CAME..

TWO WEEKS.
15 days.  
I have a mission call. 
That envelope contains the next *almost* two years of my life.
(minus the three months of fall semester)
One Problem: 
I am in Rexburg, Idaho..............




 and my call is in California.. at my house, with my parents.


The last two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.. I have never cried so much in my entire life.  Coming to terms with being more emotional has been an experience all in itself.  It has been a battle of patience and anxiety.  I know that my call would come eventually, but I just wanted it.  I am working on patience. Bear with me.  I went through so many emotions.  I didn't know what to expect.  The wait was torture.  I almost excepted my call to not come for a couple weeks because Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor and a great way of teaching me lessons.  I am so grateful I only had to wait two weeks.  SO GRATEFUL.  Seriously guys.. I would have died if I had to wait any longer.  The first week wasn't as bad because I didn't know if my call had been assigned yet.  On Friday, September 19th, I decided to see if I could log onto my LDS mail account.  

I COULD. 

That meant that my call has been assigned. 
IT HAS BEEN ASSIGNED. 

HOLY COW. 

I AM GOING ON A MISSION.

OH MY GOSH. 

WHAT!!?!?!?!!

So I texted my amazing Bishop, Bishop Sheppard, for confirmation. 
Confirmed! 
It had officially been assigned and would be sent the next week.  



Week two of waiting.
COULD THE DAYS DRAG BY ANY SLOWER?!!!!?!? 
I don't think so... seriously, longest. week. of. my. life. 

Monday felt like Friday. 
Tuesday felt like Friday.
Wednesday felt like Friday.
Thursday felt like Friday.
FINALLY IT IS FRIDAY! 

I forgot to mention, today is Homecoming for Capo.  Mail comes at 4pm.  My wonderful mother was at Capo all day dealing with football shenanigans and therefore was not able to check the mail until 11pm.... ELEVEN.  The most anticipated day of the week and she can't check the mail until 11.  I thought I was going to die.  This was killing me.  Deep down, I knew.  I knew it was there.  I knew it was in California.  AH.  I just wanted confirmation before I booked that flight though.  


FINALLY, my parents got home after the football game and the text came.

"They came" 

I was driving home when I got the text from my mom and I had a mini heart attack.  I didn't believe my eyes so I called her.  When she answered I didn't even let her get a word in, I just asked "THEY'RE THERE? IN YOUR HANDS? MY PAPERS, MY CALL IS THERE" and she told me, "Yes, it is just a white envelope from Salt Lake right?" so nonchalant.. hahahaha 

I just stared to cry.
I was overwhelmed with so many emotions.  

At that moment it became so real.  I am going on a mission.  

I sobbed until I got to my complex and then ran to Dennis's apartment to tell him I had to go home to get my laptop and wallet to book a flight.  

{oh yeah, my amazing best friend, Dennis, it is his 24th birthday today.  He is stellar.}
Happy 24th Birthday Dennis!! :) 
(read more about how blessed I am to have him in my life and about his birthday, here)

As I ran back to my apartment to get everything I was overwhelmed with the feeling of gratitude to my Heavenly Father and peace and comfort.  I can't even describe how at peace I was.  The confirmation was so strong.  Stronger than ever that I was and am supposed to go on a mission.  I am doing the right thing and that I need to do this, for me, my family, and my future family. 
 I want to do this! 

Back at Dennis's apartment, I booked my flight.  It was set. I am going home this weekend. I am going home to open the envelope that holds the next 18 months of my life.  I am just a little excited to say the least.  

The rest of the night, as we watched a movie, I just sat in Dennis's arms and cried. I am still a little bit overwhelmed.  I am so excited, don't get me wrong, it is just a little bit scary.  I don't know where I am going, what language I am speaking, or when I am leaving.  The unknown is scary! I am so beyond grateful that Dennis was there to comfort me in my time of need.  I don't remember a single thing from the movie we watched, but I do remember the confirmation I kept receiving the entire night.  The spirit was so strong.  I am so meant to be going on this mission and I am supposed to be going to the area where I am called.  

IT IS SO REAL.  

I am going to be a sister missionary.
Sister Hannah.

Now the real test... driving to Salt Lake City, alone- let's see how long I last until I start crying, and then flying home.  The wait is ALMOST OVER. Almost.  I am so close.  SO CLOSE.  



Until I open that special envelope.
XOXO,
Madeline

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I have the cutest roomies!

L2R: Me, ally L, Kristi D, Girdy G, Estela G, Aggie S

I have been blessed with the most amazing roommates.  They are the sweetest five girls and I could not be more excited to get to know them in the coming weeks of the semester.  Each one is so unique and brings something completely different to our apartment.  I am seriously thrilled to get the opportunity to live with them for the next 14 weeks! I love them so much already!

Tonight, the Ivy held a huge party in the parking lot.  It was a theme party and they called it the 'Stoplight' party.  Pretty much you are supposed to wear your relationship status. 
Green = SINGLE and ready to MINGLE
Yellow = It's Complicated
RED = TAKEN

The single ladies of 2306 are ready to party! :) Bring it on Fall 2014! 

XOXO,
Maddy

And somehow we ended up in Wyoming!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming! 

This morning we had planned on going to Mesa Falls... We ended up in Jackson Hole, WY! HAHA! 
We realized that there was nothing at Mesa Falls.  The three of  us were not down to drive an hour to Mesa Falls, take a picture and come back... so we thought of something else.  
Wyoming!! YEAH! 

The drive was absolutely gorgeous! I can't even begin to describe how much I love fall!! The Teton National Forest is breathtaking! 

 "Welcome to Wyoming!"



Ally, Dennis and Me at the Iconic Jackson Hole Arch! 

We ate at the cutest cafe, Cafe Genevieve.  It was delicious.  A foodie's dream.  All three of us got a variation of their burger and it was an instant food coma.  SO GOOD.  

After lunch we walked around the shops for a little bit and explored.  This town is seriously so cute.  SO CUTE.  A great place to spend a ton of money! 

Overall, today was such a blast! I came home and passed out for an hour because I was so tired! haha!! 

Love my sweet friends! 

XOXO,
Maddy

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ward Opening Social at iJump!

My super cute roomies:
L2R: idk who the first girl is, Girdy G, Ally L, Kristi D, Aggie S, Estela G, Me

The tradition of the 63rd ward is to have our first FHE at iJump in Idaho Falls! This time around did not fail to disappoint! It was a blast! We played on the trampolines with our entire ward and got to know our FHE family a lot better too! Our brothers are going to be AWESOME! I am so excited for this semester! :)

XOXO,
Madeline

Monday, September 15, 2014

First day of school! #sophomores

Fall 2014! 
Semester before my mission! (still anxiously awaiting my call!)
{Update! I got my call!!!!}


My sweet roommate, Ally! 

Sophomore year, here I come! I only have three classes this semester! (10 credits!)

The day started out a little stressful because I was on the waitlist for Biology 180, which I needed to get into! I had a three hour break in-between that and English 201.  English was great, I have Brother Jason Dietz again! I absolutely love him as an English professor!! Walking out of that class, I got an email authorizing me to add my Bio class!! YES YES YES! Many prayers were answered with that simple email! I was surprised to find out I was authorized to add the Bio class I was #2 on the waitlist for instead of the one I was #1 on... Only bummer was the 10:15 class I was now in had a Friday 3:15-5:15 lab... ugh... that blows! I am going to work on changing that though.  

Tuesday! First devo and only one class! Tuesdays are no longer going to be my longest, most stressful days! YES!!! Doctrine and Covenants with Brother Kyle Black was absolutely amazing, as always!!! Dennis and I walked in together and he looked at us and said "not you guys again!!" HAHA.  He loves me! Brother Black may not know my name, but he knows who I am! LOL.  Devo afterwards was awesome too.  We got kicked out of our regular spot though! :( Its ok, we will get it next week.. OH WAIT. NO. Because ELDER HOLLAND will be coming!!!! Front row for us!! 

Wednesday was a repeat of Monday, so nothing really new. I did discover that the three hour break between bio and english is going to kill me... slowly and surely.  I don't have enough work to fill in the time! 

Thursday was awesome.  Doctrine and Covenants was amazing again.  Brother Black has so many cool insights and just knows exactly how to teach pure doctrine.  After class, Dennis and I went to the temple and got some cool answers. :) 

Friday was kind of a drag.  It was the last day of the week, so yay!, but at the same time, I had lab until 5:15... dreading that.  In the actual bio class, a girl named Kim stood up and asked if anyone wanted to switch lab times with her.  She was on Thursday's at 3:15.  I jumped on that opportunity!! After class we secured the switch.  SOLID!!! I still had to go to lab today, but not for the rest of the semester! SCORE SCORE SCORE! English was great that day too.. I never thought I would be saying that! Crazy! Haha, even though that class is so late in the day and English isn't my favorite, Brother Dietz and his teaching style makes it so worthwhile! Lab after English was long.  I assumed that since it was the first lab, it wouldn't be the full two hours.. nope. Finally at 5:15 I was out! I came home and chilled before the "We are the Strike" concert!! 

This was an amazing first week.  I love BYUI and the spirit I feel on campus.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend this wonderful university.  I can't imagine going anywhere else! Let the best semester yet begin!!


XOXO,
Madeline

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Surprise!!

Fall 2014. This is going to be the most epic semester! 

Started it off the right way too! I was able to drive up to Idaho with Katie! I was so thrilled to have her company on the long ride up! Dennis also caravanned with us! It was quite the adventure! 
the longest drive... 

Katie came up for a week to surprise Robby, so the entire way up we had to be very careful about snapchats that were sent.  It was a little stressful but so worth it.

The time finally came to surprise Robby! There was high anticipation!





And then it all went down: 

Robby's face was priceless

So we (Katie, Ally and I) got to Robby's apartment and were keeping tabs with Michael, the guy he was driving up with.  It finally was time to hide! Katie hid in the closet and Ally and I slipped back into a bedroom. (Yes I know, against honor code, but we could be seen in the hallway.)  We hear Robby walk in and there was a bunch of screaming so I sneak out of the back room.  I look at Michael and give him a thumbs up with a questioning look on my face.  He gave me a thumbs up too, so I thought Katie had popped out of the closet already and surprised him.  I walked out of the back room and into the kitchen to realize the surprise hadn't gone down yet... OH CRAP. 

Robby looks as me and is like "what are you doing here?" 
I was in shock and didn't know what to say or how to react so I was just like "I was just visiting and now I am leaving. Bye!" 
and then I walked out the door.  

I just blew it.. The surprise was ruined.  He knew Katie was there... CRAP CRAP CRAP. 

Well I wait outside and the guys are trying to make excuses as to why I was there and whatnot.. Robby was so tired that he didn't even think twice about me... I got so lucky. SO LUCKY. 

Michael asked Robby if he left his speakers in the coat closet and he didn't remember so he went and checked.  He didn't find his speakers but he found Katie! And that was so much better than speakers! 

Watch the video below! :) (The first 10 seconds are a black screen, so don't worry if you don't see anything! there isn't anything to see!)





The best surprise ever! 

Love these two so much! :) 

XOXO,
Maddy

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Best way to spend my last night. Love my babesquad!

Babesquad for life!


This goodbye was a lot harder for me.  I think it was because it is a little bit more permanent.  Leslie is going to be serving in Peru! My mission papers are in. Katie is going to continue going to school. We are all at different points in our life and they are all pivotal.  I know it is all where we are supposed to be though.  It might have been hard to say goodbye to my babes, but I know we will all be reunited in two-ish years.  All I have to say is: KATIE, DO NOT GET MARRIED WHILE LES AND I ARE OUT! Haha!

I have truly been blessed with the most amazing and wonderful best friends.  I don't know where I would be without them.. well I would be alone, but I am so grateful I am not there.  These two are absolutely amazing and only build me and and make me a better person.


Of course I couldn't leave for college without one last babesquad snuggle in my bed! :) 
Best line: Leslie: "OK Who am I going to spoon?" HAHA.  Love you Leslie! 

XOXO,
Maddy

Sunday, September 7, 2014

We Are Family

We seldom take a family picture, so before I came up to school for this Fall semester, I decided to change that! I love my family so much and wouldn't trade them for the world! These pictures pretty much explain our family! 

Dad, never smiles
Jeff, always goofy
Maddy, Mom & Daniel, always smiles! 

Love my brothers so much too! :)


One day we will be an eternal family! For now, we will keep working towards that goal!


XOXO,
Maddy

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Satan Sucks.

I am finally in the home stretch of my mission papers!!
I am meeting with my Stake President in two days.  TWO. That's it.  :) 

I could potentially have a mission call in THREE WEEKS TIME.  
HOLY COW.
Low key freaking out right now... 
JUST KIDDING ITS NOT LOW KEY I AM PRACTICALLY BOUNCING OFF THE FREAKING WALLS. 

HOW CRAZY? 

Only two months ago I decided to serve a full time mission. Amazing how time flies.. seriously I can't believe it has already been two months! In those two months so many good things have happened:
  • I finished my freshman year of college! 
  • I came home for the summer! (7 week break)
  • I opened my mission papers!!!
  • I traveled to Utah for Chad and Makayla Austin's wedding
  • Dennis visited California for a week! 
But satan has also been so real in the past couple of weeks.
I have come to realize who hard he has actually been working on me. 

When I decided to serve a mission I painted a target on my back.  
I knew that. 
I accepted that. 
 I am ready and able to fight back.
Satan WILL NOT WIN this battle.
I won't let it happen. 
He will not win.
I know the time before my mission is going to be the hardest because satan does not want me to go out and share the good news I have. 

But satan, you better prepare for some fat sucker punches to the face because that is exactly what I am going to give you.  





The past few weeks I have been struggling.  I have had continuous thoughts like:

 "I am not good enough."
"I don't know enough."
"I will be missing too much of my life."
"I am not going to succeed" 
"It's going to be too hard."
"You are going to miss your friends and family too much"
"A year and a half is way too long to be gone."


and the list goes on and on.  But all of that fear was satan trying to get me from backing out.  I recognized this, but I was still scared.  Some of those thoughts were satan trying to get to me, but some of it was my worldly fear.  Serving a mission is a huge commitment.  A commitment I am ready to make though! I will be giving my life for eighteen months to the people of wherever I am called.  I could not think of anything greater than that!  


After all of these thoughts I was praying fervently that I would feel some comfort in the confusion satan was causing me.  Heavenly Father is amazing, let me juts start there.  My prayers were answered ten fold of what I needed.  

HOLY COW.  I honestly thought to myself: 
"WHY DID I NOT PRAY FOR THIS EARLIER? WHY DID THIS TAKE YOU SO LONG?"

But the point is, my prayers were answered! It was amazing to see how Heavenly Father answered them too.  

Jeff called me to pick him up from a party one night.  It was after he and my dad had gotten in an argument.  He had gone and talked to Bishop Cadden that day and received some wonderful counsel. While sharing what he learned from Bishop Cadden with me, I was able to bear my testimony on how much God loves all His children, regardless of the mistakes we all make.  His love is unconditional.  This opportunity to bear my witness to my brother was an amazing missionary experience and got me so excited to be able to go and share it with others! 

I went to institute on Wednesday, Brother Andre's class.  I LOVE HIS CLASS SO MUCH! I get so much more out of institute when I attend his class because I am anxiously engaged.  The spirit is ALWAYS there and teaches me so many good things.  Tonight the lesson was on the Plan of Salvation.  The same lesson we have all heard a million times.  It is also my favorite lesson.  I always find something new in it.  As I sat through that lesson I felt like it was tailored specifically to me.  I know it was too, because the spirit taught me things that were not being said in class. The Plan of Happiness is our reality.  We are living it!!! How amazing is that? Because I am a member of the church, I already have the light.  WHY ON EARTH WOULD I BE SO SELFISH AND NOT GO OUT AND SHARE IT WITH EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY BROTHERS AND SISTES!?  The lesson was eye opening.  Another answer to my prayer.  I got more and more excited! 

Thursday, I met with Bishop Sheppard to finally get these papers rolling and turned into SLC! We talked about how I have been struggling.  He had so much amazing counsel for me.  I know he is an inspired man! I don't remember what he said, but it brought me so much peace and was yet another answer to my prayer.  I love priesthood leaders! :)

Always, I have my best friend Leslie to talk to.  She is also going on a mission to PERU! I love having someone who is going through the same exact things to talk too.   The conversations we have are absolutely amazing and almost always about missionary work.  I love talking to her because we relate on so many levels.  The last few conversations we have had about missionary work have been so powerful.  MORE ANSWERS TO PRAYERS. 


Seriously, how do people go through life without prayer? It baffles me. 


So what I am trying to get across is that Heavenly Father is aware of ALL of His children and their personal struggles, including me! He hears and answers prayers.  Prayer is REAL.  I am so beyond excited to finally get a mission call in my hands and be able to serve the people of wherever I am called! I can't wait!


Satan only has power when we give it to him! DO NOT GIVE IN! You are stronger than you know! 



XOXO,
Madeline