Monday, October 28, 2013

Trick Or Treating is ALMOST like being a missionary. Poetic proof

October 28, 2013

Hello fellow Octoberins! This week was our ward's Halloween party (success constituted by how much sugar was pumped into my bloodstream) -- and I have pictures of our costumes!

 As you can see, I am OBVIOUSLY an Hermana Deroche, and she is OBVIOUSLY an Hermana Thomas. If you can't tell who is who (because our costumes are so good) she is the one wearing my butterfly shirt.

Also, as editor-in-chief of this blog, I have made the executive decision and thus decree: every holiday I will compose a poem of some kind to accompany the sentiments of the season.

Halloween poem 2013:  

It feels like it's summer, though time's flying by.
For the next 7 months… I'll be stuck in July.
But a small indication October is here
Is the laughing and screaming of Halloween fear.

Princesses, pirates, and minions alike
Are preparing themselves for their infamous strike.
From sidewalk to sidewalk and doorbell to door
They wait in suspense for the candy in store.

Tasting one night what WE do all day
Waiting on doorsteps and hoping they'll say:
"You’re welcome to be here" or "please take a seat."
For the things that WE offer are surely more sweet…

Than a king size "Take 5" or a truck load of “Mounds”
For we offer a life where forgiveness abounds.
So the next time we come knocking doors on your street,
Please open you're door. Not a trick, it's a treat.

-Hermana Thomas

Monday, October 21, 2013

Questions of the soul and a spooky story

October 21, 2013

After much deliberation I have decided what I am going to be for Halloween. I'm going to be a.......(drumroll please)........missionary!

More specifically I'm dressing up as my companion, Hermana Deroche. And based on the fact that everyone asks if we're sisters, I think I'll be pretty convincing.

So basically we had a pretty happen’in week this week. We have found so much success in just talking to everybody. It's amazing how many people are interested in our message. Before my mission I thought the majority of people would be resistant to talking about Christ and learning what we believe. But as children of God I have learned we are all hungry for the truth. Each of us has questions -important questions- that we need answered. Most commonly they are: Why am I here? What's my purpose? –So, as missionaries, when we offer the answers to those questions (we like to call them "questions of the soul,") people are willing to listen. Our message is also unique in that we ask people to find out for THEMSELVES if our message is true. Not only do we not expect them to take our word for it, we INVITE them to ask God, and find out for themselves. Mormon missionaries aren't here to convince anybody of anything. We are only here to help others find out from God Himself what the truth is.

So in honor of Halloween I decided to tell you a little ghost story.

Once upon a time there was a little missionary girl named......Hermana Tomtom. She was happy and well groomed from her shiny black nametag to her polished red shoes. She smiled all the day long and had not even a hair out of place (I exaggerate obviously, for the sake of the story.)

But once a day she would stop at the exact same spot in the road by her house, and after about 30 seconds, her companion would say something that would send shivers down her spine. For the rest of the night she would sit wide-eyed, horrified, on her bed, unable to shake the gloomy feeling. The next day the same thing would happen until little by little she became unnerved.

She started fidgeting and twitching at small sounds. She couldn't sleep at night and developed large purple circles under her eyes, signaling to the world her distress. Every day when she would stop on the street, she silently begged to have her companion say something else, but every day her companion said the same 6 words that sent waves of terror throughout her withering missionary body. Finally, it got to the point where she knew she could take it no longer. For one last time she stopped on the side of the road. Her companion walked
 and turned the rusty key. The little metal panel swung open ------screeeeeeeeech.----- Hermana Tomtom closed her eyes "don't say it, don't say it, don't say it." she silently begged. Her companion turned around with a sick smile. "No mail for you again today" she said. And at last little Hermana Tomtom, whose tag was once so shiny, and her shoes so polished, slipped quietly into a mail-deprived-induced coma.

The end.

[via la mom insert: letter writing guilt directed exclusively to missionary's siblings. period! Thanks for loving and supporting our California Redlands missionary!]

Happy Halloween.
Hermana Thomas

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fried Onion Rebellion

October 15, 2013 (Blog post delayed due to the library’s faithful observance of Columbus Day.)

Surprise! My mission president told us we could email today instead of Monday because of the closed libraries and all that jazz!

I would like to start this week off with a picture since I have been told that I am lacking in that department. First of all, if you have ever been my companion [-well, if you have ever been my companion then you should not be on my blog right now missy, because you're still on a mission!] But if you HAD been one of my companions, you would be well acquainted with a little something I affectionately call "onion day."

So about one or two times a week, I fry an onion, and eat it for lunch (along with some greens or something else equally complimentary with onions) which is all well and good, except that the onion fumes make everyone cry, and the apartment smells like onions for the next day and a half. This week, I walked in to some less-than-subtle picket signs taped to my wall.

........ In response, the objectors mysteriously received a letter from the "Secret Russian Experimental Onion Society" explaining to them the necessity of agent 00739 (civilian name "Hermana Thomas") eating onions.....nevertheless, I think we'll take a little break from "onion day" for a while.

I have limited time today, so we'll skip straight to this week's thought:

Change is good.

Many people are afraid of change, even if it's for the better.  I believe the fear is tied to the fact that one cannot be 100% guaranteed of the desired result. This is something I have been thinking about as the leaves here have failed to change color, the temperature has not dropped below 80 degrees.  In fact, the only indication that it's autumn is the month and date on my calendar. Here’s the metaphor: Many people would love to live in a continuous "summer" of life, but the truth is that it drags on, gets old, and prevents self-improvement. I am missing the fresh October breezes, sweater weather, and the throat and hand-warming apple cider of fall.  And in my longing I recognize the importance of change.  

If you find yourself stuck in one "season" in life, change the "degrees" in which you do things. For example, maybe it's time to start focusing more on family. Maybe you should learn a new skill. And it’s always a great season to strengthen our relationship with God and improve our spirituality.

Go ahead, jump into positive change, the weather's fine!

-Hermana Thomas

Monday, October 7, 2013

This week... Movie-Style

*whisper whisper whisper*
"Hey did you get the popcorn? Its about to start?"
A dad trying awkwardly to squeeze past 10 people with his toddler for one last potty break "oops, excuse me there"
Someone’s tapping their foot on the floor. It makes the sticky popping noise of a dried up mega-size coke on worn-out sneaker soles.
"No, not that butter nonsense, I meant KETTLE corn!"
Shuffle shuffle shuffle.
Four-year-old tries to climb over the seats to the next row down.
"Shhh!!! It’s about to start!" "Shhhh! They’re trying to watch!" "SHHHHH! You’re being too loud!"
Shushing louder than the actual talking.
"I don't need to be quiet it's just the previews!"

This week’s PREVIEWS: (i.e. something I can explain in 30 seconds or less, and yet hopefully contains all the explosions and jokes of the actual full-length feature)

1. Somebody actually OYM'ed US this week. That is to say, we were walking away from a lesson, and got stopped by three teenagers who A. wanted to know what we were doing B. wanted to hear about God's plan for us and C. after the mini-lesson, set up an appointment with us to come back.... full movie available only in blog theaters coming this October.

2. One of the Elders in my ward had to go home this week due to illness which means that A. he gave me his wood-burner and set of wooden thing-a-ma-jigs. (Yes, you read that right. w-o-o-d-b-u-r-n-e-r) B. We are getting two sisters to replace him and C. One of the sisters coming is Hermana Woller! (My first trainer.)

3. SOMEBODY mixed up the dinner schedule one day, and we ended up eating dinner--nay--FEASTS two times in a row. I have now officially eaten enough fried chicken to qualify to be the KFC colonel's grandniece or something. I'm expecting adoption papers from him soon. (Which I will decline of course, because I LOVE my family)


(Lights fade more and the little Disney castle comes up on the screen, because my life is basically Disney-movie-worthy) Cue……

GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I learned SO much, took SO many notes and left SO inspired.

One of the things that I've been asking my investigators to do was to go to general conference with a question in mind, and then look for the answer by listening to the inspired words.

Well, I thought it would pretty unfair of me to ask that of them if I wasn't willing to do it as well. Thus, before the Sunday sessions I prayed, picked a question that I really wanted answered, and did all I could to prepare myself to receive the personal inspiration I was seeking.

During the very last session, one of the talks that was given was directed, I felt, specifically to answer my question. I couldn't take notes fast enough! It inspired me to come up with a new slogan that I wrote, decorated (Hey, I'm just a girl with multi-colored pens. Whaddja expect?), and hung up on my wall.  It is:

Que compras?
Que pagas?

Which basically means: What are you buying? What are you paying?

--It hit me yesterday that everything comes at a price: health, spirituality, reputation, education, yes, but also laziness, vanity, and other less desirable things. By analyzing what direction you're heading, and where you put your thoughts and resources, you can figure out what it is you're actually buying.

Some things we buy at too high a price, and some good things we give up on because we don't realize how reasonable the price actually is. One really has to look back and analyze how much they are really putting into something to notice that they are making a bad purchase.

Time in particular. I've started to analyze how much time I put into somethings and am embarrassed to find out how much I've spent on things that aren't that important to me. For such a bargain-based society, we sure overpay for a lot of things with our time. Perhaps that's why the expression is “SPEND your time.”

Just food for thought. Thanks for SPENDing your time reading my blog. I hope to PAY you back by writing something interesting.

-Hermana Thomas