Dear Blogosphere,

Dear Blogosphere,

I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’ve missed you.

Wow so much has happened over the last little bit. I decided to take a break from blogging for a minute while I lived up the last part of my summer. Now I’m sitting here realizing I should probably smack an update on this little corner of the internet.

In June I was able to go to Yellowstone National Park with my YSA ward. That was a party and a half. And then I also got to go to Chicago with my cute family and that was non-stop fun.

July was amazing. I was blessed with the opportunity to go to girls camp with my home ward as the “camp photographer” which basically translates to the fact that my 12 year old sister wanted me to come so she walked straight up to my bishop and said “hey bishop… can Whitney come to camp?” and he said “Sure! We’ll find something for her to do!” and KABAM I found myself at girls camp as the leader that everyone kept forgetting was an actual leader… including herself. I’m secretly still 12 at heart.

I also was blessed with the opportunity to spend HALF of August in Florida. Oh what a dream that was. I spent the first week with one of my mission companions, Kathy Glover, running all over Florida. I was finally able to go to Disney World thanks to some wonderful friends I met while I was on my mission. Then we spent some time up in New Smyrna Beach which was one of my favorite areas. When we finally got up to the area it was about 10:00 at night. Kathy and I looked at each other and said… “well, we don’t have a curfew anymore. We don’t have to go home yet. What should we do?” and then said “well, we are allowed to go in the ocean now.”

So you’d better believe we drove straight to the ocean, parked our car, and ran full speed straight into the open waters fully clothed. What a liberating experience that was to finally stand in the water I spent eighteen months looking at from a distance. I’m in love with the ocean. My other favorite part of this trip was being reunited with the people I came to love so much as a missionary. Many people didn’t know we were coming so it was such a joy to knock on their doors and surprise them.

The second week with a crew of maniacs I’ve been friends with since Junior High and High School. It was such a magnificent experience. If you know me very well you’ll know that my soul belongs in Florida, and it was so fun to be able to introduce my friends to my favorite places. We were able to storm around Disney World some more and it was just incredible. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun I had.

So where am I now?

I came home from Florida and moved to Provo a couple days later. I’ve now been a student at Utah Valley University for a couple months and am LOVING every second of it. I’m rooming with some mission friends and have a hard time going to bed on time because we’re always up laughing. I’m currently a competition coach at an incredible gym in Provo called High Altitude and am loving coaching more than ever.

Earlier this month my beautiful little sister was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is currently in the Provo Missionary Training Center and she is absolutely loving being a missionary. She will serve in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana mission and we are so proud of her. But I must say that when we were dropping her off at the MTC I was pretty dang jealous it wasn’t me leaving on a mission.

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Now it’s almost October and I’m doing good! I don’t quite know how to handle this colder Utah weather because I’ve spent the last two winters in Florida, but my gym that I work at is next to a candle company and when I left work the other day the air smelled strongly of pumpkin spice so I’m not complaining. I’m excited to see the seasons change for the first time in a long time.

I figured I’d throw this quick update on here since I’ve had a hard time keeping up this little corner of the internet. I will hopefully be better at updating now that I’m a little more settled into my new life down here in Provo.

I hope you are doing well and that life is treating you good. I promise to stay in touch better this time.

Love,
Whit

Confessions of an RM

I returned home from my mission not even 10 days ago and I have a confession to make…

I’d rather be in Florida.

Coming home is something every missionary thinks about. Will there be a crowd at the airport? How many people will come to my homecoming? Will my younger siblings be taller than me? How am I going to adjust back to being a “normal human?”

Towards the end of my mission going home was something I began to look forward to. I was excited to experience the departing temple trip with my mission president and I heard the final testimony meeting in the mission home was a spiritual experience. Those experiences didn’t disappoint.

At our departing temple trip we were sitting in one of the sealing rooms with our mission president and he directed our attention to a magnificent chandelier. He pointed out the ever so subtle movement of the chandelier and how it it was that subtle movement that caused the chandelier to sparkle. He talked about how each of us had created a little movement in Florida and had left a little sparkle all over the state.

Flash forward a couple weeks and now I’m back in Utah feeling a little less sparkly.

For the first week after coming home I felt like a celebrity. When people would see me for the first time they would scream and run to give me hugs. Everyone wanted to take pictures with me to put on social media. Quite a crowd gathered to hear me speak at my homecoming. I felt like I was on top of the world.

But now the excitement has started to wear off and people are getting used to having me around again. My siblings are back in school during the day and my parents are back to work. My friends are busy with their jobs and school and some of them their new husbands. And I was left at home to try to navigate registering for school and looking for jobs. I would be lying to say it is easy to feel the same kind of fulfillment from day to day as I did when I was knocking doors and preaching the gospel in Florida.

And that’s to be expected.

For eighteen months I wore the Savior’s name on my chest and I did His work 24/7. I had thousands of people praying for me on a daily basis that I don’t even know. I had purpose and I knew exactly what I was supposed to do every second of the day. In all reality it was easy to be successful. But the moment you take off that name tag and people stop calling you “sister” those prayers aren’t for you anymore and your focus starts to shift a little.

As a returned missionary you are thrown right back into the environment you were in before you left. The world around you is basically the same as it was, but you’re a little different. It’s like trying to put on a pair of shoes that you used to wear in the eighth grade. They used to fit great, but now they make your toes curl and give you blisters when you walk. It’s uncomfortable and awkward at first.

But if I’ve learned anything over these last ten days of being a returned missionary is that the Savior still loves me. I know that even though I don’t wear His name on my chest anymore, He is still proud of me every time I do something for Him. Weather it’s unloading the dishwasher for my mom or sending an uplifting email to my friend that’s still on a mission. He’s happy with the service I’ve already given to Him and He wants me to continue to seek opportunities to serve.

I’ve also learned that I’m not expected to be perfect. When I first got home I expected myself to be perfect. And I was shocked when I made mistakes. But I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is still applicable for Returned Missionaries. And if anything, we, as returned missionaries should understand the need for Jesus Christ’s Atonement even more than we did before.

He wants us to keep trying. He wants us to improve ourselves.

So that’s where I’m at now. I’m in a slightly less sunny state trying to learn how to sparkle again.

And He’s never left my side.