Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another goodbye...

Today I said goodbye to my best friend of nineteen and a half years.
I know for every missionary post I've done so far, I've said that the person was my best friend. That is mostly true--I only write these for my really close friends. But Camille has always been my best friend.
This girl.
Is amazing.
I can't even imagine my life without her. We've had our fights and we've had our bad times, but overall I'd say we have a really awesome and happy relationship. For as long as I can remember, Camille has been who I went to for advice, who I've looked up to for an example, and who I just have fun with. We have been like twins since day one (well, her day one I guess) and she is the closest thing to a twin I'll ever have. I admire her for her strength because she is one of the strongest people I know. She is responsible, but still crazy and fun. She is adorable and incredibly intelligent. She is so spiritual and full of light, which is one of the many reasons she will make such an amazing missionary. She is strong-willed and determined and when she wants to achieve something--she does it. I admire her for her self-discipline and her kindness. I want to be like her in so many ways. Really, I hope to be able to catch up to her in wisdom and maturity someday before I die.
I can't explain to you how much I love this girl. Sometimes I may forget to show it, I can be kind of bad at that. But I know I worry about her more than I do anyone else, and I think she is just about the most amazing person ever.
We are so similar, and yet so different. We kind of balance each other out I guess. She is really responsible and mature and sometimes gets kind of stressed out over things and I'm more relaxed generally and pretty irresponsible at times. We like a lot of the same things, I probably have more in common with her tastes than with anyone else. We like about the same types of music we love a lot of the same movies. We share many of the same friends. We drive each other crazy sometimes, but we work through it.
I'm so thankful that I get to have her as my sister because I know for sure we'll be life-long friends and she is a friend I really want to have forever. I've learned that people come and go in life. Boyfriends don't last and even best friends don't always end up being friends forever. But family is always there for you, so it is convenient that my very best friend happens to be my sister.
As we dropped her off at the MTC today, I couldn't help but notice how incredibly nervous she was (it was pretty dang obvious, and who wouldn't be?). She looked like maybe she was about to throw up. But she bravely took her luggage and followed the new-missionary-hosts who kindly led her through the crowd of people. I imagined how terrifying that must be, to say goodbye to the people you've known your entire life, knowing you won't see them for a year and a half. How scary it must have been to walk into that sea of missionaries and not entirely knowing what to expect. Leaving everything familiar and comfortable behind and walking into the unknown to serve the Lord. I felt so incredibly proud of her and I don't think I've ever admired her so much as I did in that moment.
Her courage makes me want to be more brave. Her love for the gospel makes me want to grow more spiritually. She is such an amazing example and I am so happy to have people like that in my life who I can learn from.

Imagining a year and a half without my sister is hard. I can't entirely comprehend it actually--which is good, if I could, I'd probably never recover haha. I know sometimes it will be rough. I know that sometimes seeing her empty room might make me cry. But I also know that she is going to have adventures beyond my comprehension, and she is going to grow even more wise, she is going to meet amazing people and she is going to change lives for the better much like she's been doing here. The people in Sweden are so lucky.
I hope she knows that she really has been such a strong influence in my life and that I know what kind of person I want to become because of her.
She's kind of my hero and always has been.
And by "kind of," I mean that she is.
Camille I love you. You are wonderful and you are going to be such an amazing missionary. I truly believe that.
Thank you for everything.

****All photo credit goes to Daniel Driskill Photography. Like his page on Facebook. :)****

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

sunshine in my soul.

Basically, I am obsessed with sunlight. I like to take pictures of sunlight, or at least I used to, back when I knew where my camera was. I love sunrises and I love sunsets. I love how sunlight makes people look more beautiful. It makes their skin glow more and their eyes become lighter. I like how it makes my hair slightly more red.

If you know me really well, you know that my favorite flower is the sunflower. I'm sure, by now, you can guess why. I think it is beautiful because it's bright and a happy-looking flower and reminiscent of the sun.

I love how the sun makes things clearer. Each little ridge on a mountain, each little ripple in a river, each little blade of grass, as the sun shines on it, empty spaces are made into shadows and details become more noticeable.

Colors are made brighter and more rich by the sun.

 Essentially, the sun is one of my favorite things about life. And one of the most beautiful parts of it. It is warm and it makes me happy. Vitamin D, ya know. I am much happier in the summer because I spend much more time outside hiking, going on walks, just sitting out in the sun, and getting a little sunshine every day really does influence my mood for the better.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended my singles ward. In Relief Society we were talking about something that I don't even remember and we read D&C 88:4-6 or something like that. I loved verse 6 so much so I read on in my own personal study. D&C 88:6-13 have become some of my favorite verses because I think they are so beautiful and poetic. All these verses emphasize is light and how the gospel is the source of all light.

He that aascended up on high, as also he bdescended below all things, in that he ccomprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the dlight of truth;
 Which truth shineth. This is the alight of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was bmade.
 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
 10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you astand.
 11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your aunderstandings;
 12 Which alight proceedeth forth from the presence of God to bfill the immensity of space—
 13 The alight which is in all things, which giveth blife to all things, which is the claw by which all things are governed, even the dpower of God who esitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

Isn't that freaking amazing? This got me thinking about light in relation to the gospel. The gospel is another source of light in my life, it is something even more powerful than the sun because it is the light of Christ which is the source of power for the sun and the moon and the stars and the earth. So, I think all of the qualities the sun possesses also apply to the light of Christ. With the light of Christ, people become more beautiful. Their countenances glow because there is light within them (v. 11). The gospel makes life more beautiful because it gives us meaning and teaches us to appreciate the people and nature around us that enrich our every day lives. The gospel makes things clearer to us, it shows us truth and we are better prepared to recognize shadows or actions that will lead to emptiness. Verse 11 says that this light "enlighteneth your eyes" and "quickeneth your understandings." 
With a proper dose of the gospel every day (scriptures, prayer, etc.) we can find happiness much like how getting sunshine every day influences my mood.

I love the gospel and I love my Savior. And I love sunshine. 

Make sure you're getting a good dose of vitamin D every day. :)