Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Special Calling

And.... this is the big sister. This picture is sometimes how I feel about her, and this is how she sometimes feels about me. We have this understanding though, this mutual agreement that we still love each other no matter what.

     In the Old Testament, there is a story about a woman named Hannah. Now Hannah, for whatever reason, had not been blessed with children in her life. Because of this, Hannah "was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore" (1Samuel 1:10). She prayed to Heavenly Father to bless her with a son, and promised that if He did, she would give her son to the service of the Lord. The Lord then did bless Hannah with a son, and she named him Samuel. True to her word, Hannah brought Samuel to the house of the Lord to learn. He grew to be a great prophet and servant of the Lord.

    Motherhood is a divine calling. It is one of the most selfless callings that this world has. When we choose to raise our families and teach our children in the ways of the Lord, great things can happen. Hannah was later blessed with many other children in her years, and Samuel still was part of her life. Not only did Hannah's choice to teach her children of the Lord bless her family, but it was also a blessing to many other people as Samuel led them to know the Lord.

Photo by Jenn Davidson

   My older sister and her husband were recently blessed with a healthy baby boy. Because of the testimonies that I know that Brittany and Scott have, I know that they will ALWAYS choose to raise their family the way the Lord would have them. I've been told that parenthood isn't easy, that sometimes when you want the best for your children, they still have agency and can choose to make wrong choices as well as choose the right. All we can do is teach what we know and lead by example. I'm so excited for Brittany and Scott. Brittany has always been a good example for me to follow and Scott has accepted and loved our family like his own. It's through these principles of selflessness, care, and love that families can build their foundation upon Jesus Christ, "whereon if men build, they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just That Simple.

   I've been having a bit of trouble composing my posts lately. My plan is to have one post about each of my family members and talk about a Christlike attribute that I see in them. To me, there are few things in this world that can teach better than example, and they all come from Divine guidance.
   It's not that I've been homesick (sorry, Mom and Dad), but when it comes to family and home, it's hard for me not to share the most exciting experiences and the times when I have learned the most from this particular family member, and I want those experiences to stay special.

  My short message for today: The Gospel Blesses Families. It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter where you came from or how broken or even happy your family may be, it all can be made better through obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It really is just that simple.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mataya, Patata, Tater Bug, Darth Tater...

"Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
                                 Isaiah 60:1

      I've never met someone who doesn't absolutely love Mataya. I think she's pretty great, but hey, she's my sister. The outfit she is wearing in this picture was designed and created by her. Mataya is one of the funnest (and funniest) people you will ever meet. Every time I remember laughing my guts out, Mataya has been there 9 times out of 10. She's one of those girls who seriously knows how to make you feel better and have a good time no matter what you were feeling like before.
      Mataya is an excellent example of being a light of Christ. She shows kindness to everyone. The way she dresses, the way she acts, and how she talks is all a reflection of what I hope to be. I have seen her be a good example to those her age and also been a role model for the young girls she babysits. She is always beautiful and modest. I love to talk about my younger sister and how great she is. There are so many things in Tennessee that I know she would truly appreciate and enjoy!

      I love to watch Mataya when she shares her testimony. She doesn't always vocalize it, but she lives it. To some of her non church member friends, she has been the one to whom they always go with questions about the gospel because they know that she knows. Mataya knows that Christ is where her happiness comes from, and she shares her joy and happiness with others through service to them. She is a daughter of God with valiant courage and the light of Christ.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Biggest Younger Brother

KC is my older younger brother. One of the things I love most about KC is that with whatever he does, he becomes fully invested.When he was little, and he wanted to be a cowboy. He LOVED old western movies. I am convinced that the biggest fan that John Wayne ever had was this four year old boy. He would get all ready to watch in his wranglers, chaps, long sleeved flannel shirt and cowboy hat, no matter how hot or warm it was outside. When he got older, he really liked baseball. KC practiced hard and worked with his coach to become better and better. A few years ago he had the chance to throw an opening pitch for the Salt Lake Bees minor league baseball team, and the audience cheered him on the loudest out of any of the other pitches. He has even taught some of what he knows to Judson. KC is soon going to be a senior in High School. He likes to snowboard and he works alot at his job so he can earn money to buy a season pass early to the ski resorts. He has awesome friends. His best friend lives just as much at our house as he does his. Two perfect peas in a pod if I ever saw them. K.C is the one on the left, his friend Matt (sometimes called "Mac" at our house, courtesy of Goober!) on the right. They have lots of fun together.
  Another thing that I truly admire in my younger brother is his dedication and testimony of the gospel. He lives his life in a way that others can see the good example he sets. He surrounds himself with good people, he works hard, and still has a lot of good old fashioned fun. I'm proud of my brother for the way he treats others. He talks about how great his Sunday school and priesthood leaders are, and you can tell that he really respects them. KC also works hard to help out my mom. Whenever she is gone for a few days,  KC does his best to make sure the house is clean when she comes home. Sooner than I like to think about, KC will be going on a mission, and I look forward to writing him and telling him how great missions really are and giving him all the support he needs, but I know that when he dedicates his life to the Lord, that will be all he needs.
  KC is a great example of someone who is truly making the most of what Heavenly Father gives him and enduring to the end. Nothing that KC has done has ever come easily to him. He works hard and puts in the time and dedication, much like we have to put in time and dedication if we want to follow the Lord. When challenges arise, you press forward and keep your eye on the goal. By doing so, you can find your many strengths and talents that the Lord has given you to find. I'm proud of you, little brother.

 "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore,  if ye shall press forward feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold, this saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
                                                                            -2 Nephi 31:20

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This is my youngest brother. His name is Judson, and I call him Goober. I think this picture is most fitting for him. He just turned eight years old and was recently baptized! It was hard for me because I wasn't there to see it happen, but I know how excited he was. I received an e-mail from my mom a couple of weeks ago and she told me all about it. While she was giving a spotlight on him, she said he walked up to the front and pulled my mom close to give her a kiss on the cheek. He is so great!

 Judson is special because "we chose him." That's how he describes it. Our family does foster care, and it has been a great blessing for us to be able to have such sweet children come into our home that we can care for. Judson was our first. He came to us just twelve days old for a temporary amount of time to hopefully place him back with his family. Over the next couple of years, his story was a perfect example of tender mercies and small and simple things bringing great miracles. On October 11, 2005, he was ours, and it was soon after that he was sealed with our family forever. Our family knows that we need him as much as he once needed us.
    Because of his circumstances, Goober does have some special needs. In spite of his setbacks, he is one of the most sincere young boys of his age. He loves to make friends and he tries to always make a good choice. One good choice is saying "thank you." He does fairly well for the most part. Two Christmases ago, we were up very early opening presents (No other way to do it when you're six years old!). He opened one of his presents from Santa, and when he saw what it was, he froze for about two seconds and said, "Oh my gosh!" Then, to our great confuzement, jumps up from the floor, runs over to the front door, swings it open and yells, "THANK YOU, SANTA!!!" It was so sweet. And it was all for a toy pirate ship :)
   I've been thinking about gratitute lately. Low and behold, today our missionary district had a lesson on gratitude. One elder shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon.

"And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled
to be humble, seeketh  repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth
mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.
   And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?"

                                                                                  -Alma 32:13-14

The same idea of being compelled to be humble can also be applied to being compelled to be grateful. Are you compelled to be grateful after you hit some hard times? Or are you grateful because you recognize what Heavenly Father has blessed you with?

  Challenge for today: Say a grattitude prayer. Don't ask for anything. Pray to Heavenly Father and just tell him what you are grateful for.

2 Corinthians 9:15.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This message brought to you today by the principle of PRAYER.

Planning. As a missionary, it's a spiritual experience. Every night, Sister Valentine and I make plans for the following day, then we pray about it. The next morning, we solidify those plans, then pray about it. And, throughout the day as we visit people, we pray about it again. As missionaries, we are looking to teach those people that Heavenly Father has prepared. Sometimes, plans fall through. Sometimes you don't feel good about your plans but you don't know how the Lord wants you to change them. This is one reason why we always pray.
And then miracles happen.

Sister Valentine and I were about to come into the library to use facebook and blogger when the phone rings. It was the Zone leaders calling with some great news! Remember how I mentioned yesterday that we had a couple of investigators decide they didn't want to follow the gospel? Well, one of them called back! He's a young single adult (YSA) so the elders in charge of the YSA branch were in charge of teaching and keeping in contact with him. For about a week and a half he has not showed up to any appointments or returned calls. Our zone leaders were calling because he called them, and he wants to meet with them tonight! We are so excited! Before he even called, the elders had planned to stop by his apartment to say hello that evening. It worked out perfectly.
  Part two- yes, there is more! There is another YSA named D'wyte whom the elders are teaching. D'wyte is out of town for a few weeks, but Sister Valentine and I are teaching his mom Yevette (who, by the way, is getting baptized at the end of the month!). The elders asked if they could go and visit Yevette today and talk a little bit about D'wyte. We have an appointment with her today at three, so we told the elders that we could meet them there and talk to her together. Then, the elders tell us that three o'clock was when they had planned to visit her as well!
 So, yes, I have a testimony of planning. I have a testimony of Heavenly Father, and that he answers prayers. When we turn our lives over to Him, the Holy Ghost can direct us in ways we can't do on our own.

 2 Nephi 32:8-9
      "And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken into the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
      "But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always and not faint that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I've decided to shift gears. Redesign if you will. For future missionaries, family, friends, and the rest of the internet world, here are my experiences. This is what it is like to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the beautiful Nasvhille, Tennessee.
 I'll start off with yesterday. Oh, yesterday... I was warned well in advance and multiple times that missions are hard. Yesterday was one of those days. I was wondering if my work was amounting to anything, if I was here for the right reasons, am I really listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, etc. Just missionarywhoneedstofocusonthework syndrome. I admit I was pretty bummed that, within the space of a week, the two investigators Sister Valentine and I had who had the most amazing spiritual experiences decided to make choices that weren't in line with the gospel. Dang it. And to top it all off, I received no mail for about a week and a half. None. And as a missionary, getting mail is better than payday (which we don't have actually... we pay to come out and serve).
  So I was quiet. When I am quiet, it's usually because I don't want to concern others with the sad things in my mind. And then I just look depressing. I am no poker champion when it comes to emotions. I was at the library writing down and organizing my thoughts and how I might conquer them. Right after that, Sister Valentine and I left to go to an appointment. Our apartment was on the way, so we stopped to check mail and grab a few small things. To the mailbox it is. Sister Valentine opened it up, and there were not one, not two, but SIX letters!! Two for Sister Valentine and four for me! I could not believe it. Then I saw the return addresses... I had no idea who these people were. I saw the name "elder" (the term we use for boy missionaries) written on every single one. Sister Valentine's dear sweet missionary friend serving in Washington state had some of the elders in his district write me a few letters welcoming me to the mission field. I've been out for about four weeks now. Each letter had its own words of encouragement for me to pray, focus on the gospel, and stay happy, because this gospel is a happy one!
  Those four elders did so much for me yesterday that they don't even know. They related to me what it is like to be new, to not know your way around as well as you'd like in the life of a missionary, and how you can overcome it. It was exactly what I needed.
  So, this new start goes out to Elder Ottley, Elder Smith, Elder Bale, and Elder Liu from the Kennewick, Washington mission. Props to you for helping this missionary remember her purpose and helping her come closer to Christ!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Latter-Day Saints know that we lived with Heavenly Father as spirit children before we lived on earth. He made for us a way that we could return to live with Him with a glorified and perfected body, just like He has. In order for us to have such a priviledge, we came to earth to be tested.
  I don't like to use that word "tested." I like to think of life as a great project, and at the end we can show Heavenly Father what we made from what He gave us. We must follow the example of Jesus Christ and follow the prophets. Each special child created by God has a special plan just for them. No two lives are identicle, and at the end when we present our lives to God, each will be just as precious and unique.
  We can't remember our life before because we have to make choices. We have agency, or the ability to choose what we do, whatever we do. In the end, we are judged according to our works and the desires of our hearts. Because we are in this fallen state, not remembering our God, we make mistakes. Through Jesus Christ, we can one day become clean and ready to present ourselves before our eternal Heavenly Father.
 Faith, dear friends. Courage take, put your trust in Him who created all things bright and beautiful on this earth. It is as simple as the first step of faith to walk towards Him.
-Sister Franson

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I absolutely love being a missionary. Sharing such a wonderful and pure message of Jesus Christ strenghtens and lifts my spirits. Sometimes it's heartbreaking when others hear you but don't take the time or care to listen. Sister Valentine and I have shared many times our testimony of the Book of Mormon and our faith in the gospel. Almost everyone we teach agrees with our values and teachings. It just... confuses me that someone can know something but not act upon what they know. It's like knowing the law of gravity. A person can be taught about the law of gravity. You can clearly see the law of gravity work when you watch something fall, but for some reason people think that their personal, temporal priorities are more important than that law. These are the people that try to fly, only to fall back on the ground. Gravity is still there, still affecting your life whether you choose to believe it or not. It's only until we understand the law- God's law- that we can do something greater than ourselves and see the miracles that He places in our lives.
  As part of this life, the Lord has given us the gift of agency. We have the power to choose in every situation. We can make choices that please Heavenly Father and receive blessings or not. When we learn about Heavenly Father, we learn what He would have us do. When we obey His commandments, we receive blessings. It is as simple as that. Obedience is not always easy, but it's a simple price we pay to give up ourselves to become something more wonderful than we can imagine. Be not afraid to obey the commandments of God.

 "I must obey. Amen."