It's Overrrrrrrrr

Hey there friends! Sorry that my idea for a nice rounded out finish fizzled into oblivion. I've been home from my mission for two weeks now and blogging has been left on the back burner while I've been figuring everything else out. (Mostly meaning getting re-obsessed with pinterest).

Once things get leveled out more I will return to blogging on Latest Endeavor. If you aren't sick of my ramblings yet I'd love for you to join me there!

Learning to Face Reality

Here's the first guest post in our wrapping things up series! Its from my dear friend Sister Franson. We were companions at the very very beginning! I hope you enjoy her "gems" of what she's learned.

This was from way way back towards the beginning....
A few days ago I asked what it means to be blessed. When it get's right down to it, a blessing is 'something good.'

Well friends, now I have come to see how a blessing is so much more than simply a good thing. It truly is a gift from God. I know that my mission has been one of the greatest blessings I have ever been given in this life. 

I've kind of been in denial in some ways. I have so many mixed feelings about going home. Regarding what I could post, I have thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it. I think that even if I wrote the most elaborate, tear-jerking, emotional post, it really wouldn't do justice to my whole experience as a missionary.

Over this process and pondering, I have come up with a small handful of gems:

There are some things in life that cannot be gained in any other way but by experience. I can testify that a mission is one of those things! Gaining a testimony and spiritual knowledge of the Jesus Christ and His gospel is another. I am told that motherhood is another one, and I know there are many other examples. If you have the opportunity to go on a mission, I can promise you that serving a mission will bless and positively influence every other major life event you will encounter. Ask the Lord, and you will have your personal witness testify to you of the importance of your call to serve.

People are real. This might come as a shocker to some. I have been able to see real people, living real lives, overcoming real challenges. Having a companion 24/7 has also taught me a lot about myself and how I build relationships with others, and I am so grateful that I have learned how I can build and strengthen relationships with friends, family, and others for the rest of my life. This principle has also taught me much about Jesus Christ and how real He is, and how He thinks about us. Think about what you are doing right now, or what you will be doing ten minutes from now. How would Jesus Christ do it? How would the home of the Savior look? How would He feel if he saw what you have done so far with your day and with your dealings with others? The Savior is more than just a man who died for our sins. He knows each of us, and He knows us well. So does our Heavenly Father.

The Gospel is TRUE. I have also come to know what it means to be true. I have heard many philosophical comments and I have read many talks and listened to sermons that say truth is subjective and relative. I am here to testify that truth is NOT subjective, nor is it relative. There is indeed perspective in this world, but actual events and reality cannot be altered. I don't know if many Christians realize what they are saying when they casually say that the church is true. I can't even do it justice to describe what it means. I suppose that the adjective that I go to most is real. God is real, He is tangible, Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. The Book of Mormon is an actual account about a real ancient American civilization. Faith is an actual principle given to us by God. Repentance works, baptism is essential and powerful for the remission of our sins, the Holy Ghost does in reality communicate and protect us, and once a man or woman knows this, the gospel cannot be forsaken, neither should spiritual progression be stopped. That is not the plan of God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints truly is God's church and has the authority therin.

There is always a choice. I love to change. I can also testify that change can be difficult. It can require the difficult challenge to humble one's self before God and sometimes our fellow brothers and sisters. Try to change though! If you are upset, just smile. Try to sincerely smile. President McKee has often said that we can change our attitude as easily as we can change what we wear. I KNOW that we cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to what happens to us, and when we do that in a manner pleasing to God, then we are on the path to mastering and overcoming the natural man. 

Only the Savior knows how we feel. This kind of ties back in with the first point. I have come to... strongly dislike the phrase, "I know exactly how you feel." No one does. Our lives and personalities are so unique that no one can possibly know but God. There are some that may be able to empathize or relate, but it is not possible to know exactly how someone else feels. Instead, I have learned that the best way to handle a delicate personal situation is to just say to the person, "I can understand why you feel that way" or "I have felt similar (not to be confused with exact) feelings like that before" and then you can bridge that situation to the gospel. This default in life is part of God's plan. We need to turn to the Savior and no one else to feel completely consoled and light from our burdens. Time is also an essential part of God's plan. If we could go back in time or remember things perfectly, we would learn much less and rely on the Savior very little. 

I have learned so many other things. My understanding and knowledge of Christ's church and His gospel has expanded in a way I couldn't have predicted or understood a year and a half ago. I understand better the why of the gospel and how I want to exercise and use each principle in my life and with my family. I have also learned how I can have greater faith, and I have learned the importance of waiting... a lot.

So, dear friends, this post isn't goodbye. Yet. I still have a small handful of weeks. As a dear friend of mine reminded me, although my service as a full-time missionary is coming to an end, I am not going back to my old life, but I am looking forward to a new life with many wonderful opportunities, and many more blessings to look forward to and be grateful for.

Dear friends, the church is true. I can promise you that. I hope that you will take the time to find out for yourselves.

I pray that each of you will have an action-packed, blessed day! 
Love, Sister Franson

Sisters who Serve

I wish you could have seen my face the first weekend in October when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the age requirement of missionaries had changed. WHOA! For years young men have been preparing to serve God as full time missionaries at the age of 19. In one simple historical announcement from a Prophet of the Lord the age of acceptable service was lowered to 18! Young Women, like myself, have no obligation to serve missions but the Prophets have repeatedly told us that we are a valuable assest to missionry work and they welcome our service. The age requirement from young women was lowered from 21 to 19!

Me & Sister Franson 

Sister Anderson & Sister Bishop

This announcement wouldn't have made a difference in my choice to serve because I didn't leave until I was 22, but it makes a HUGE difference for the missionary program! Did you hear the follow up news of the increase in mission applications? The number of applications started each week increased by 471% !!!! 471!!!!!! There was an average of 7,000 out of 58,000 full time missionaries who are sisters. More than half of the new applicants are going to be sister missionaries! That is more than 4,000 new sisters!!! (Can you tell that I'm just a LITTLE excited?)

The pictures above are the 4 of us sisters who began our missions together in May of last year and will sadly be finishing up our full time service next month. We have each had incredible experiences in the Nashville Tennessee area and over the next short while we'll each be sharing some highlights of our service. I hope that what we share will not only inspire other sisters to prayerfully consider service as a missionary, but that it will also intrigue those who may not know much about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Before we take off on this adventure I want to share one of my ABSOLUTE favorite quotes on Sister Missionaries:

"Many young women are serving missions. Many are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or have nothing to do, but because they have a desire to serve and are therefore called to the work. The reason so many are going is because in the next generation Heavenly Father will be sending his Priesthood Army to Earth and wants to send them to mothers who have been properly trained and taught in the Gospel. What better training can a Young Woman have than a mission?"--President Gordon B. Hinckley

Thankful for Turkeys

November means we all intensely focus on things that we're thankful for. Get off to a great start with this prompt!


Let’s not just talk about counting our blessings—let’s do it! Write a list of 100 things you are thankful for. If that sounds like it is too many, try this:
Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.

Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.

Write 10 living people you are grateful for.

Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for.

Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.

Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.

Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.

Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for.

Write 10 foods you are grateful for.

Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.

When we make a list like this, we discover that a list of 100 doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the things God has given us.
Sometimes in life it's easier to see the things that aren't going right, vs. the things that are. But when we look at the blessings we DO have, life is so much happier! :)

Blessed Plan of Happiness

And once again I find myself with 4 posts in progress but nothing near completion. Please enjoy this short video that shares what I (and many others) believe about the purpose of life.
It hits especially close to home right now since I just found out that a very close friend, almost like a second grandpa, passed away this week. We mourn his loss, but we will not be sad forever because we know that death is not the end. Because of our Savior Jesus Christ "the sting of death is swallowed up"

Honest To Blog: Perfection

"Some of us expect perfection of ourselves instead of seeking to be perfected in Christ."*


This post itself is the lesson that I want to share. It's been in progress for well over 2 weeks now. Finally it has come time to just post it and move on in life. I can't seem to get the words out right because I want them to be perfect. I think that's the newest swear word in my book. First it was busy and now it is perfect.

I never considered myself a perfectionist. Anyone in our community would tell you that was my sister. She was the organized one. She took the AP classes. She got the straight A's. Chelsea was the perfectionist. Elle was the semi-organized chaos, the easily distracted, and the pile of unfinished projects.

How did that version of me turn into such a control freak? As I look at my life in chunks [childhood] [high school] [college] [whatever happened next] [mission] I can see growth that has happened in each section. Even though I see changes it doesn't seem like enough. I find myself thinking "I've come so far why does it seem like there is twice as much ground ahead??"

Sometimes I feel like I'll never be good enough or measure up to being worth Christ's grace. How wrong am I? Very wrong.

I find myself in the awkward situation of a young woman mentioned in a talk given by Brad Wilcox at BYU. She also found herself lacking understanding about the Grace of God. Take a semi-break from my ramblings to read her experience:

A BYU student once came to me and asked if we could talk. I said, “Of course. How can I help you?”

She said, “I just don’t get grace.”

I responded, “What is it that you don’t understand?”

She said, “I know I need to do my best and then Jesus does the rest, but I can’t even do my best.”
She then went on to tell me all the things she should be doing because she’s a Mormon that she wasn’t doing.

She continued, “I know that I have to do my part and then Jesus makes up the difference and fills the gap that stands between my part and perfection. But who fills the gap that stands between where I am now and my part?”

She then went on to tell me all the things that she shouldn’t be doing because she’s a Mormon, but she was doing them anyway.

Finally I said,“Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.”

Seeing that she was still confused, I took a piece of paper and drew two dots—one at the top representing God and one at the bottom representing us. I then said, “Go ahead. Draw the line. How much is our part? How much is Christ’s part?”

She went right to the center of the page and began to draw a line. Then, considering what we had been speaking about, she went to the bottom of the page and drew a line just above the bottom dot.

I said, “Wrong.”

She said, “I knew it was higher. I should have just drawn it, because I knew it.”

I said, “No. The truth is, there is no line. Jesus filled the whole space. He paid our debt in full. He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.”

She said, “Right! Like I don’t have to do anything?”

“Oh no,” I said, “you have plenty to do, but it is not to fill that gap. We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence. What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God’s presence and how long we plan to stay there.”

Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice—not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His. Justice requires immediate perfection or a punishment when we fall short. Because Jesus took that punishment, He can offer us the chance for ultimate perfection (see Matthew 5:48, 3 Nephi 12:48) and help us reach that goal. He can forgive what justice never could, and He can turn to us now with His own set of requirements (see 3 Nephi 28:35).

“So what’s the difference?” the girl asked. “Whether our efforts are required by justice or by Jesus, they are still required.”

“True,” I said, “but they are required for a different purpose. Fulfilling Christ’s requirements is like paying a mortgage instead of rent or like making deposits in a savings account instead of paying off debt. You still have to hand it over every month, but it is for a totally different reason.”

Ok. Here I am. Girl with the line. Thinking I'll never be able to measure up. That's a warning flag right there that in those moments I do not understand the Atonement of Christ. President Boyd K. Packer counseled the youth in January about the importance of understanding Christ's Atonement.

"Life turns out to be a succession of trials and errors. Add 'repent often' to your list of things to do. This will bring you lasting peace that cannot be purchased at any earthly price. Understanding the Atonement may be the one most important truth that you can learn in your youth." -Boyd K. Packer

Its going to take us all of our lives. Not a single one of us can really truly grasp the measure of love, sacrifice, and mercy that Christ gives to us. But what we can do is try. We can learn a little more every day. My perfection comes THROUGH Him and I will be "perfected in Christ" rather than perfected through my own works.

What do you do to apply the Savior's teaching to be perfected in Him?

Poll Time!

I've got a project that I'll be working on for the next few months and I would LOVE some input! 
Please leave a comment sharing some of your favorite hymns or mellow songs about the Savior Jesus Christ, the restoration of the gospel, or eternal families. If you can please include a link to where I could access the song or music. Thanks a ton!

All That Glitters

Ok world, time for me to share.

During Sunday School about a month ago I was on a wild rampage to find every scripture I could that mentioned jewels, crown, mansions, rubies. Sparkles and treasures. You name it. I wanted the verse. For a second I can apologize to Sister Jackie Owens for not being 100% focused on the lesson, but I really like what came out of that time. A combination of scripture, words and rhythms from Garrett Sherwood's poetry, and a sincere excitement at what lies ahead in the heavens inspired this work.

For your own study on eternal things that glitter try out some of the verses that inspired this poem

Finding Home and Heaven on Earth

I've heard that there is a lot of mention of temples in the news recently.  With Mitt Romney running for President "Mormonism" has become somewhat of the religion of the moment to be talking about. I'm not one to dive into political topics or debates and what I think of the Presidential race will remain a secret to the rest of the world. Only my voter's ballot will know what I think. What I would like to do is to share how important temples are to me.

There have been times where people have asked me questions about what goes on inside these holy edifices. Please know that they are sacred houses of God and what goes on inside is not a secret but they are sacred. The best way that I know how to answer these questions is with the words of Latter-Day Prophets and Apostles. I keep the following quote from Brigham Young in my wallet so that I can share it at any time. Its getting a bit ragged around the edges because I've had it since I was just a young girl, maybe 13 or 14 years old.

Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels...being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood and gain your eternal exaltation...-Brigham Young
It would be almost another 10 years from the time I first read this quote until I would enter God's house and take part in this ordinance myself. The endowment, however is not the only covenant, or promise, that we make in the temple. We do baptisms in behalf of those who have died without a knowledge of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. To learn more about that read this talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He explains it much better than I ever could. If you don't have the time/aren't interested in reading that much at the moment you can check out this page on 

Someday in the hopefully not too far away future I will be married in a temple for time and eternity. Marriages that are solemnized in temples of God do not end when we die. There is no "til death do you part" in the ceremony because it is a sacred union of a man and woman and God. I have seen the blessing of a temple sealing in my parent's marriage and I know that it gives them a better focus on things that really matter. They will be together forever and my siblings and I will be right there beside them. Forever is a darn long time and I get a better perspective of how much I should show my love to my parents and siblings.
I know this isn't the most comprehensive view of temples and there is so much to be said, taught, experienced and enjoyed about them. Absolutely anyone can enter a temple, so long as they are living worthily. I would encourage anyone who reads this to make a commitment to be more active in temple worship if already a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and if you are not, to learn more about why these buildings are so vital to us by inviting a set of missionaries to your home or asking a friend who is a member of the church. If you do not know anyone that you could ask I would be happy to share more with you on facebook and you can find me here.
Just a brief last note: Thank you SO MUCH to those who participated in the September Book of Mormon reading challenge. It finishes up tomorrow and then the best month of the year begins! Make sure you start October off right by participating in General Conference on October 6th and 7th. Click this handy little banner for more information. Oh yeah..and don't forget to celebrate my birthday on the 5th! [It's an international holiday nowyaknow.]
Come listen to living prophets

I Love Hymn, I Love Hymn Not

What happens when you've had a really spiritual experience reading from the Book of Mormon with your friends and you realize there are just 10 minutes before you have to be home, but you don't want to kill the spirit by just getting up and leaving right at that moment?
You turn to your companion and she suggests, "We could sing a hymn."

[Insert an acapella version of three women singing How Great Thou Art. Not necessarily in tune or all in the same key]

Then leave with a prayer and tears in your eyes.
This is the formula for a perfect evening.

As I've been pondering what else I could say about the power of music and how I feel the Spirit nothing have come out right. I simply cannot find the words to describe it. I 've heard an analogy that explaining feelings of the Holy Ghost is like trying to tell a person what salt tastes like. It's just an experience that you have to figure out yourself, and then you'll recognize it forever.

So due to my lack of ability to figure out these feelings I've found some quotes from the Prophet and some Apostles in hopes that one will speak to you.

Also here is a moment where I shared the gift of song with some very dear friends on the day of their baptisms. Its taken me a long time to be brave enough to sing solos (or in this case a duet) in front of a group of people. So even though it's not a picture, this is a milestone to put something like this on the internet so I'm including this as a BIG embrace moment.

President Thomas S. Monson
Music can help you draw closer to your Heavenly Father. It can be used to educate, edify, inspire, and unite. However, music can, by its tempo, beat, intensity, and lyrics, dull your spiritual sensitivity. You cannot afford to fill your minds with unworthy music.

President Boyd K. Packer
When temptation comes, you can invent a delete key in your mind—perhaps the words from a favorite hymn. Your mind is in charge; your body is the instrument of your mind. When some unworthy thought pushes into your mind, replace it with your delete key. Worthy music is powerful and can help you control your thoughts.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
The music of sacrament meeting is a vital part of our worship. The scriptures teach that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto the Lord ( D&C 25:12). The First Presidency has declared that “some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns” (Hymns, ix). How wonderful when every person in attendance joins in the worship of singing—especially in the hymn that helps us prepare to partake of the sacrament. All sacrament meeting music requires careful planning, always remembering that this music is for worship, not for performance.

President James E. Faust
Many prayers are spoken while we are on our knees. The Savior knelt as He prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. But silent prayers of the heart also reach to heaven. We sing, “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed.” Sincere prayers come from the heart. Indeed, sincerity requires that we draw from the earnest feelings of our hearts when we pray rather than using vain repetitions or pretentious affectations such as those condemned by the Savior in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Our prayers then truly become the “song of the heart” and “a prayer,” not only reaching God but touching the hearts of others as well.

Make wholesome music of all kinds a part of your life. Then learn what sacred music has to do with revelation.  Secular music may be inspiring in a classical or popular sense, but it will not prepare your mind to be instructed by the Spirit as will sacred music. The Apostle Paul counseled the Ephesians to “be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”Eph. 5:18–19;

I'm so clever when it comes to blog titles. Har har har! The truth is I pretty much love ALL hymns!