Something About Time

My brain likes to hold song lyrics in it.

News flash right?

The ones that have been cycling through recently are to a hymn called Improve the Shining Moments

"Time flies on wings of lightning we cannot call it back, It comes then passes forward, along it's onward track. And if we are not mindful the chance will fade away, For life is quick in passing tis as a single day"

There's also some Steve Miller band floating around in there but that can be saved for another time. My dear sweet companion just informed me that I have 23 Saturdays left on my mission. And it's sinking in mighty fast how short 6 months really are! I'm not quite sure what a wing of lightning is but I know my life is flying on one.

Sister Tauoa and I were on a long dusty road in the middle of nowhere Kentucky last night and we were talking about the differences between fast paced California life and laid back Southern living.  It makes me ponder how I'm really making use of those seconds I've been given.

There is a scripture that pretty lays down the law simply about the purpose of life

I know that if I'm keeping God in mind and making choices that lead me back to Him then it doesn't really matter what the pace is that I'm going at. So I may have 23 Saturdays left, but there are 6 other days in the week and lots of good that can happen in all of them!

This post isn't all mega thought out and prepared. I just wanted to share some thoughts. Share some back?

Later skaters,
<3 Sister McCall

What It Means To Be Sisters

First off, forgive the Fijian for pulling a face. She makes it so often that it is officially stuck that way. Please don't tell her parents.

Second, at a quick glace we don't look like sisters at all do we? How could the three of us possibly be related? Well you see our bodies might all look totally different and we're from far away magical lands like California, Utah, and Suva, but our spirits are all from the same place!

We are soul sisters (even more than Train sings about). Our Father in Heaven just didn't let us get to meet up and realize how great we work together until recently. This quote from James J. Hamula helps me remember that we have an important purpose in life. Our Heavenly Father saved so many great people to come forth in this generation so that we can work for His benefit.

"Reserved to come forth in these last days and labor for our Father and His Son are some of the most valiant and noble of our Father's sons and daughters. Their valiance and nobility were demonstrated in the pre-earth struggle with Satan. . . .

". . . You are those who chose good over evil and who exhibited 'exceedingly great faith' and 'good works.' And because of your personal history, you were entrusted to come to the earth in these last days to do again what you did before—to once again choose good over evil, exercise exceedingly great faith, and perform good works—and to do so in behalf of the kingdom of God on the earth and your fellowman!"

That's something worth pondering. Go out and embrace the camera and your potential!

Time To Pack Up

There comes a point when it doesn't matter how much fun you've had playing in the dirt, swimming in the lake, getting sticky from s'mores or weaving baskets out of pineneedles. Eventually it comes time to wrangle the tent back into its bag and load up the minivan!

Thanks for coming along and joining me in this project. It didn't really turn out as perfectly structured as I would have liked, but that wasn't the purpose. We can't be expecting perfection right? But I hope all of you that have been camping out know that you've been in my thoughts and prayers as I've tried to share things that I hope will be a blessing for each of you.

Keep your lamps burning my friends. Even though we're wrapping this series up it doesn't mean it's time to put the scriptures and journals on the shelf until next summer (because I'm planning on trying this out again). Keep up the study. Keep sharing with me what you've been learning!

And hopefully...keep coming back. Because the writing sure doesn't end here. Russellville is bringing us lots of adventures to talk about.

<3 y'all

Sister McCall

Sharing Time

So two of your fellow campers have shared their artwork with quotes that keep them going. Mine hasn't gotten up in the apartment yet because...I don't have one right now!

God has some pretty amazing things in the future for me and my new mission companion Sister Tauoa. We're searching for a place to live in Russellville, Kentucky. It sure is an adventure and we've been making it through with a lot of prayer. It is AMAZING here. So many nice people!
 Michael Ann's Inspiration

We've found ourselves a nice place to use the internet at the public library. Get ready for the final day of camp! It's almost time to pack our digital sleeping bags up and head back home for the next adventure in blogging.

Dry Your Eyes. Let's Catch Some Fish.

One year at camp I was pretty miserable.  It was just a few months after I had graduated from high school and I was a nut because I didn't realize how blessed I was. My family had just spent a month out of the country and there I was at camp and then I'd be going on one more vacation before heading to college in the fall. All I could think about was how no one understood what I felt like and life was hard. WELL DUH. Tell 17 year old me that the same is true for everyone.

Its still even hard for 23 year old me. Last night I cried myself to sleep. Twice. The first time was on the couch because I was tired and sweaty and worn out. The second time was when I woke up on the couch in the dark scared because I couldn't figure out where I was. I think crying is a natural part of camp. It happens to little kids who like me last night can't figure out where they are. It happens to older scouts who think they can find their own path in the woods and get lost instead. And if sure happens to counselors who just don't know how they can help their little buddies out with the tasks they are trying to overcome.

So on those notes I'd like to share my completed homework assignments from the craft cabin.

I need this reminder up on the wall to tell me "You get to choose to be happy!" This morning I could have very easily stayed in my bed for a few more hours with a fear of getting up and facing another day. But I sure didn't like how I felt last night. So why would I choose to subject myself to that again? I chose to be happy instead.

Have you made your quoteable reminder yet? Send 'em in so we can all enjoy them!

Things look different around here don't they? Thanks to the awesomely incredibly talented Michael Ann for the blog redesign!!! It was time for a fresh start don't ya think?

Come on Over to the Craft Cabin

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day." James Joyce

Campers! It's time for crafts! How have we survived this long without an arts and crafts day? It's going to be a 2-parter post because I need to do the homework along with you and share all of our results. Are you ready?

So a millenia ago (meaning last week) I requested that you share some favorite motivational quotes. Words that inspire you to keep going. I have myself a little red journal from my dear friend Emma where I keep loads of great advice from those who have had more experience than I. But what good does it do for me to keep these treasures hidden between the covers of a book?

Here is the project:

Choose a quote or scripture or song lyric or cliche or SOMETHING and craft it. What does that mean? Turn it into something you can see every day. Since I'm low on time for craftiness right now I'll most likely just write it on a piece of white paper and slap it to some scrapbook paper. You could write it on a piece of masking tape, cross-stitch it, spray paint it on your car... the niceness of the project isn't really that important (except that you're going to be looking at it). What is important is to put it up on a wall or propped on a desk or tucked in your planner somewhere that you will see it often.

The best part, after you've made your quoteable reminder, share it! Take a picture and e-mail it to me elle.mccall @ We're going to share with the world how we keep ourselves motivated! Think of it as making your camp cabin flag!

If you don't already have something in mind here are what some of your fellow campers have shared, plus a few from me at the end.

From Brooke:
"The context is not in your control, but your commitment is yours to make, and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment about where it will take you."- Vandana Shiva

 "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."- Rumi

“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.” ― Lao Tzu

From mi madre:

"Don't SHOULD all over yourself"

From Elder Barton:

"Life, for me, is about giving. If by one small act I can make someone happy, it brightens up my day."- Benazir Bhutto

"Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."- Dale Carnegie

"As we seek to rescue others, may we not be bound by time-tested templates and self-imposed perceptions that restrict our spiritual creativity and lock out revelation."-Elder Spencer J. Condie
From Sister Valentine:
 ‎"The chiefest cause of failure is trading what we want most, for what we want at the moment."

and from me!
"Take risks while you can. Never let the fear of not knowing what will happen deter you from trying. Its the things we don't expect that make life interesting." - Christine Chai

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgive the inexcuseable in you." -C.S. Lewis

"Anyone can give up. Its the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you feel apart, that is true strength."

"It's better to desire the things we have than to have the things we desire." -Henry Van Dyke

"The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outward conditions." -Robert Louis Stevenson


Listen up campers. I've heard some unfortunate news from the counselors. They told me that you're not getting along very well with others. They've seen it in the mess hall and during campfire time. When it's worst is at night in the cabins. Bunkmates start chatting and some things have been said that aren't very nice.

How many of you right now are like "Sister McCall, really? We aren't actually at camp. And you're the only counselor. That southern heat is really getting to your head". Well maybe you're right. But I wanted to bring up something that's been on my mind lately (and it was a request from one of your fellow campers). I tend to be influence a lot by the people around me. In fact, I spend all of my time with two other missionaries and we're at the stage where we use each other's phrases all of the time. We also have plenty of time to talk.

Pause for a second and let me do a flashback.

I've had some serious gossip issues myself. I can blame it on old friends all I want but the truth is that this girl hasn't always been the kindest person. I'm asking God for His forgiveness for that one almost every day. It's so darn easy to get hung up on the faults of other people and to talk about things that are driving me nuts or just that I thought were funny. It didn't help that I also got obsessed with the TV show Gossip Girl. I think it perpetuated my nasty habit.

When I realized how not nice I am and that it was holding me back from friendships that I didn't even know could be so great it became time to change. Want to know how I did it? I just zipped my mouth up like the front of that teal tent up there! What would our relationships with others be like if we just used mental Velcro and held on to our thoughts a moment longer? That is a definite Christlike attribute that I can always be improving on.

So this is turning a bit more into a "lets be nicer" rant than a challenge to develop spiritually. But trust me, when we each learn how to be a bit nicer to one another we're all going to be following the commandment to "Love our neighbor". And I want to help you live the commandments!

Will you be nicer to the people around you today? Will you bite your tounge for a second longer and think about what you're saying...if maybe you would't say it right to that person's face?

And since you've been so attentive and life is sweet...have a s'more.

"Want a s'more?"
"How can I have more if I haven't had any yet?!"

Motivational Quotes

Campers, things are going to be slow for a bit.

Will ya help me out?

My good friend Emma gave me a book to write quotes in and it's my favorite thing ever. Will you help me fill it out more? I'll start off with this one and then your homework is to help me add on a few pages of quotes. In a coming post I'll put up the best ones!

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
— C.S. Lewis

Thanks for all of your participation so far. Your other challenge is to read out of the Book of Mormon every day. I know it will help all of us strengthen our testimonies of the Savior. And that is exactly what I need right now. And I bet you might need it too.

Nature Walk

At 6:26 every morning the most annoying sound in the world happens. You think I'm kidding. You know the moment on Dumb & Dumber where Lloyd claims he can make the most annoying sound in the world? My alarm clock is like that, but 382 times worse. I've had several companions threaten to break it into a billion tiny pieces. You see it's got wheels on it. All-terrain-run-around-until-you-are-awake-enough-to-get-up-and-turn-it-off wheels. And the sounds. My goodness. Think of an alarm mixed with R2D2 and alien children giggling. So bizarre.

Why am I filling you in on the details of this white robotic monster of death? Because it's the thing that gets my day going. My companions and I groggily pull on some socks and tattered sneakers and head out for our run. We've been doing this every day for half an hour for a week and a half! Ok, its short, but be proud of me for a second. Part of the fun of living with a crazy Fijian girl is the way she runs in the morning. I'm usually half awake trying to pull myself up the hill, Sister Valentine is treking right up ahead of me with some impressive endurance...then there is Sister Ratuvukivuki. She seems normal at first. Running forward with her fast long strides...and then all of a sudden she's doing spins and standing on a park bench singing "Figaro Figaro Figaro!!" Sometimes she takes excursions under low hanging branches of trees. We've come to call those "nature walks" (can you read that with a Fijian trying to be Australian accent?)

Although all of you can't have an Islander of your own, I do want you to take part in the ages old camp tradition of taking a nature walk! If you  have an iPod or some other form of MP3 player your challenge is this: Download the talk Mountains to Climb and load it into your little impressive machine that plays music. Next, strap on your sturdiest walking shoes and head out to take a hike! You can do it in your neighborhood, at a park, or on a real mountain. The only requirement is that it MUST BE OUTSIDE! No nature walks through the mall ok? For the 19 minute duration of the talk, walk at a brisk pace and get your blood pumping. After you've listened and been spiritually rejuvenated spend the next 19 minutes of your walk looking around you at the beautiful creations that God has given us.

When you get home, or back to the car take a moment and sit down with your journal. Write about the things you experienced on this outing. What are some of your mountains? How can you make your foundation unshakeable? This is a real exercise campers. I want your body moving and your brain thinking! Report back with some experiences you had on your walk/journal session. Bonus points to any camper that can find a scripture about hiking :)

Now stop reading and TAKE A HIKE!

Prayer Will Get You There

Story time. Pull up in your sleeping bags and cuddle around the fire!

I pray a lot. I'm not saying that to sound snotty. I'm just stating a fact. Just because I do it a lot doesn't mean I'm like an expert on prayer in anyway. So this morning I spent an hour figuring out how to make those prayers more meaningful. What is it that I can change when I talk with God? The format never changes. I've taught a lot of people how to pray. And I've said a whole lot of them myself over the past 20 something years. I want my prayers to have more meaning. Do you ever feel that way? During that hour of digging around in the trusty scrips I found this paragraph in the Bible Dictionary and it really spoke to my heart:

 As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.

Ding ding ding! The first step to having more meaning in prayer is to figure out who I am! I am a daughter of God! When I pray I'm literally talking to my Dad who happens to live in Heaven. And guess what, the same is true about you (unless you are a boy, then you're his son...) So if I remember that I'm going to find it easier to talk to him.

So we're told that we are to pray every morning and every night right? (oops! accidental rhyme!) When I was in 8th grade I decided I would never go to bed without praying first. Mornings were a little harder. Nothing has happened in between those prayers except for dreams and snoring. God doesn't care. He still wants to hear from me. This is where the scriptures come in super handy. They're almost like a cheat sheet, giving us things to pray about! Alma 34:17-28 gives us a whole list of things to pray about. I don't have any fields to pray about but I do have things during my day that I need help with. And I can especially spend more time praying for others.

The time is short because my brain has been scattered and I'm pretty sure I have more to share. And this isn't even really all that focused. Campers, please excuse your troop leader for being a bit of a blonde today.
Will you spend a little extra time on your knees tonight? Ask God to help you realize your divine potential because you're His child. Then pay attention to any warm fuzzies you may be feeling in your heart. I bet my bottom dollar you have some :) And for you over achievers give this talk a read and report back. Happy praying!

Mail On Mondays

So campers how did day one go? With missionary schedule it's not realistic to expect a post every day from me, but I'll try to get in at least three a week. That leaves the other days of study time up to you. Right now I just have a few short minutes to get some e-mails sent out to mi familia. Tomorrow's post will be about prayer. Kristen I really got excited when I saw that it is one of your goals to have more focus in your prayers!
Today I just have a few rules to share. These come from Elder Quentin L. Cook and they were the standards his parents had for him growing up. I hope you will use them for yourself as well.

1. You must always have a goal
2. You must always be doing something to attain that goal
3. Your goal can change at any time.

My scripture reading idol and favorite scripture teacher ever, Brother Jared Halvorsen shared that with us at institute (bible study) last week and he also gave out this handy little booklet to keep #2 going. Print one out, fill in the blanks and lets measure some progress!

Your homework today is this: After reading for at least 20 minutes in the scriptures write a letter. It can be to yourself, your dad, a friend, someone who you haven't talked to in a long time, me ;) anyone! In that letter share some of the things you learned during your study. How will you apply what you learned in your life? Sharing what you read will help you to have a better understanding and it will also encourage someone you care about! Report back with a comment after you have SENT the letter (unless it is to yourself, then just tell me that you did it).

Day One

Time to take roll and get all excited to be here!

Just so y'all know: This camp isn't going to be a "sit-back-and-enjoy-what-I've-written" kind of a thing. You are joining in on a big ole chunk of personal growth time and it's going to take effort! For day one we're going to set some goals. What kind of spiritual change do you want to have over the next 4 weeks?

First homework assignment: Choose one of the following talks and read it.

Vision to Do   or   Desire

Now that you've read a bit and hopefully been a bit inspired, make a list of who you want to BECOME. This is not a bucket list or an array of things you'd like to do. This is the kind of list you really can never check things off of because you'll be working on them for your entire life. Like "be a good mom" or "be kinder to people" or "be a scholar of the scriptures".

Next, take a look at the coming weeks and plan in time specifically in your day devoted to your soul. I know you think you're swamped. You probably are. Lets face it, life is BUSY. But we take the time to eat right? We take the time to check facebook. We find ourselves in cozy socks snuggled up on the couch watching reruns of I Love Lucy (wait, that might just have been me). But friends, our souls are starving. They need us to feed them. Plan ahead. That's what's going to make this awesome.

I'm stoked that you're along for the ride with me. Will you leave a comment to let me know you're fully on board? And with that comment, will you share at least one of your "become" goals? Y'all are great. Lets do this!