Friday, May 23, 2014


"We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"

Hump Day

This is a letter I wrote to my family about my journey here thus far. It is exciting :)

Happy Hump Day to me! I almost can't believe it. This next week is my
9 month mark. Half way. It seriously just blows my mind. It totally
doesn't seem like it has been that long since I have been away.
Sometimes I feel like I have missed so much. Christmas, birthdays,
reunions, parties, traditions, new movies and music, etc. but at the
same time I feel like I haven't missed out on anything. Because of the
knowledge I have gained and the person I am still becoming. Because of
the lives I have seen myself help and the service I have been able to
give. Because of the things I have seen and the understanding that I
now have.
Before my mission, as many of you know, I thought I was the bomb. I
thought I was awesome and I had everything going for me. Coming here
has been a complete eye opener for me. I have found that I am nothing
compared to who I thought I was. I am not really that cool, I am not
funny, I am not awesome, I am pretty mediocre. But with the help of
The Lord, I can do a lot more. He makes up for everything that I am
not. And how grateful I am that He does.
So I wanted to share the top 10 things that I have learned since I
have been here. They might not actually be the top 10, but they are 10
very meaningful things on my mind as of this moment.
#1. Not everything is about me. I know this is all ya'lls favorite
thing to say, but it wasn't until I came here that I realized how much
everything really was always about me. I was selfish! My decisions,
what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, how I felt, etc. Every
decision I made and everything I did was for me. Now, nothing is about
me. And when I try to make it about myself, nothing goes right. And
after marriage, it will still not be about me. (My birthdays still
will be, so don't forget those!) It will all be for my future husband
and my future family and forever about my Savior. How grateful I am to
have learned this now verses when I am married or even just dating. I
have come to know my true self so much better here than I ever have
before. And it was honestly an eye opener to see how I reacted to
things and the person I was. It wasn't quite the person I wanted to
be. But I am slowly becoming that person. Who you are is part natural
and part effort. I am just working on the effort part.
#2. Anything important in life takes a lot of work. If it doesn't take
work, it isn't important. Understanding the gospel, receiving answers
to prayers, getting along with your companion, preparing for the
workday, etc. it all takes a lot of effort if it is to be done right.
But it is worth it to put effort into it. It is more tiring for sure,
but the alternative is disappointment. And that's much worse.
#3. Patience really is a virtue. And it is necessary when you live
with someone. I had no idea just how frustrated I could get in my head
at things. And just stupid little things. I also didn't know what a
clean freak I was raised to be. Not that everything has to be spotless
and in its exact place, but it definitely can't be filthy and
everywhere except where it should be. I have learned that the best way
to deal with frustration with your companion is to serve them. What do
I do when I hate that my companion doesn't do the dishes or make her
bed? I do her dishes and make her bed. It's that simple honestly. She
can't complain and I can't complain, so we get over it and move on. I
have learned that although I hate being wrong, sometimes, I am wrong.
And it's okay. And instead of being mopey, it is a lot more fun to
gloat about how awesome my companion is for being right and let them
feel the praise for being right.
#4. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But then there is
another tunnel. Nothing lasts forever. There is always one final curve
you take and you get to see the glorious light of joy or happiness or
relief. But once that light hits The Lord will send you into another
tunnel. Why even send us into tunnels you may ask? Because we can't
see our way and we have to ask God for help. And that is when we make
it farther. If it were all sunshine and lollipops I would be a sitting
duck. And a fat one at that.
#5. Family is everything. I had no idea how much I would miss my
family until I came here. I mean, going to college is one thing, but,
going to a different state with limited communication is a whole other
thing. I am sure people are just sick of looking at pictures of you
all. It is my favorite subject to talk about. I love telling people
about my crazy siblings and all the fabulous things we do together.
And seeing the look on their faces when I tell them just how insane we
really are... It's priceless. I didn't realize just how amazing our
family was until I saw families here. I was and am truly blessed to be
in the family I am in. To grow up with loving parents who taught and
lived the word of God. Who worked hard to support the greatest gift
that God can give. To take on the responsibility necessary to
sacrifice and labor for the well being of 8 kids. And to live with the
most amazing examples of dedication, hard work, service, love,
kindness, etc. that I have in my siblings. Yeah, we have had our
moments, but more than that, we are a family. And a dang good one I
might add!
#6. Conversion isn't just putting on a shirt and tie (or a dress) on
Sundays. It is a whole lot more. True conversion comes from countless
hours of callings and service, many a days of camps and projects,
multiple activities and get togethers, meetings, babysitting,
donating, helping, etc. The person you are at the end of the day. How
you live your day to day life is a true scale of just how converted to
the gospel you are. I have learned that there is a huge difference of
being converted to the church vs. converted to the gospel. If the
prophet was to stand in Conference today to say that he received a
witness that this church in fact wasn't true, would that shake our
testimony? Mine still might be, just a bit, but it shouldn't! We
cannot just be "Sunday Mormons". It isn't enough. We are disciples of
Christ. Daily disciples. And the gospel isn't just for us to sit in a
building for 3 hours, but for us to literally become like our Savior.
#7. Happiness is a choice. We will always have reasons to not be
happy. Sometimes we have to fake a smile until the real one comes. But
if you look hard enough, there is always a reason to smile. Always.
And people need it. My whole life I have looked up to people like
Debbie Olsen and Becky Morrill who are always happy and smiling. And
that is why I looked up to them. I never saw them mad or even solemn.
Always happy. Makes life a lot more fun honestly when you are around
happy people. I have seen Elders here who feel like they have a hard
companion and are grumpy all the time. And I have seen other Elders
with the same companion and they are always smiling. The companion
didn't change, the Elder changed. So it is with everything. Our
situations won't change if we are grumpy about it. In fact, if
anything, it will get worse, making us worse. But if we just decide to
smile, who knows what can happen.
#8. Christ is real. He loves us and he listens to us. And our prayers
are always answered. Just not usually in the ways that we want. Christ
not only told us the way, but he lived the way and provided us the
means necessary to walk the way and live forever. Without Christ, we
literally are nothing. Without Christ, we have no hope. Without
Christ, there is no purpose. And it is true that the more you learn
about Christ and the Atonement, the more you want to share His gospel.
Why hold in the greatest news that has ever come to mankind; that we
can be saved? That we will live again. And Christ provided the way.
And it is as simple as following Him that will give us our reward. How
blessed we are!
#9. There is so much more to life than having fun. And most things
that are fun don't even last. Sometimes I am guilty of the good,
better, best scale. Nothing I do on a mission is bad. I am never going
off and watching movies or partying. But sometimes I let my mind rule
over me to do the good thing instead of the best thing. I have noticed
that it is usually because the good thing is more fun for me. But how
much more fun? The fun only lasts while I am there, while doing the
alternative lasts a whole lot longer. And it's those best things that
I end up writing home about and it's those best things that stay with
me longer. Looking back at the last 9 months I don't remember
everything. But the memories I cherish the most are the times I made
the best decisions. I am still working on it, but it is coming.
#10. This is the true church. I cannot deny it. The more I testify of
the truthfulness of this message I am proclaiming, the more conviction
I have to say that this is God's gospel. It is His priesthood. Joseph
Smith is His chosen prophet who restored His organized church. Thomas
S. Monson is chosen of God and leads and guides His church today. The
Book of Mormon is the word of God given to his prophets. Through the
Atonement and suffering of Christ, we are relieved from worldly cares
to be able to return to the presence of our loving Father to dwell
with Him and with our families for all eternity.
I want you all to know just how grateful I am for all of you. You are
all inspirational in so many ways.
Thank you mom and dad for your love and support. I couldn't be here
without your help. Literally! Thank you for your weekly emails. For
your words of wisdom when I am frustrated or down. For your love that
you constantly share.
Thank you to my sister for all the packages filled with love and for
making my scrapbook. I haven't seen it yet, but I am sure it looks
great! It will be nice to have as a memory of all that is happening.
Thank you to all my older brothers who served. Thank you for your full
service and for your words of encouragement and love. Thank you for
being strong and being perfect examples of service. As I don't know
what to do, I sometimes ask myself what I think you would have done.
You are all wonderful.
And thank you to my little brothers for believing in me. Thank you for
sharing your feelings with me and allowing me to help, even with how
far away I am. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be the one
you look up to. You are the ones who keep me trekking. I know I need
to show you that hard things can be done.
I love you all and am excited to see you in 9 short months :) Be ready
for some complete awkwardness, because I am stock full of it!

9 Months

I know I hit my half way mark about a month ago. I have seriously slacked on posting.
But how grateful I am to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but, it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. 
I am so grateful to be a representative of Christ. To wear His name proudly on my shoulder each day. I am so grateful for the relationship I have been able to gain with Him and for the chance that I have to share with others how they can find the peace and joy that I have in my life by coming unto Christ.
I love my life. I am grateful for the challenges I have been through that have made me the daughter I am today. I am excited for 9 more months of fun in Chicagoland!


"Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!"
-2 Nephi 28:24
We are stronger than we think!
Photo: "Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!"
-2 Nephi 28:24
We are stronger than we think!


 I am beyond grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am literally nothing without Him. I am here as a missionary not to force people to join my church, but to invite others to strengthen their relationship with Christ. Because that is what matters. He is everything and He can bless your life if you let Him in.

 Follow the link below to discover what is possible Because of Him.


#itwasmom who taught me to love the gospel and sat and held my hand walking into The House of The Lord. So grateful for my momma! She is the best mom in the world! I love her with all my heart. 
Photo: #itwasmom who taught me to love the gospel and sat and held my hand walking into The House of The Lord. So grateful for my momma! She is the best mom in the world! I love her with all my heart. (Special shoutout to my dad as well. He did a great job too!) Paul E. Spackman


 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

Congratulations Karl for your decision to be baptized. 
It was a long journey. But I have seen the light enter into his eyes. I am so proud of him and his decision to follow the example of Jesus Christ.