Ready Bubby?

I've been working on a plan for August and I'm so stoked for it to start! My whole time I've been out here I've been taking pictures of church signs. When I was headed out to Nashville over a year ago I was talking to one of my friends from high school who had lived out here. She told me that I'd be in shock with how many churches there are. She sure was right! Every single corner in any town down here in the south has a church on it! I guess the signs are in an attempt to attract people to what is going to be preached the coming Sunday.

I've taken all of those pictures (plus some other little signs that promote faith in Christ) and I'll be posting one EVERY DAY in August! Granted not all signs are created equally, but there are some pretty awesome ones mixed in. Hope you enjoy my collection :)

Last Week's E-mail

Today I just don't feel like doing a rundown summary of my week. It was another week. I brushed my teeth, put on a skirt, and headed out the door to be a missionary. 7 times. Just like last week. Just like the 56 weeks before that. This is my life. And its taken me forever to realize it.

This isn't just "some phase" I'm going through. When the rest of the weeks are ticked off of the calendar there aren't a ton of things that will change. Sure I'll be wearing pants, and I'll get to listen to music, and become completely obsessed with Doctor Who all over again, and be with all y'all at home. But when my nametag comes off I'll still be a missionary. I'll still be obsessed with learning more about the gospel. I'll still want to share it with everyone because I love them so much.

I can't express how grateful I am that God gave me this opportunity. Sometimes it seems like the dumbest thing I could have ever done because I've subjected myself to experiences harder than anything I've faced yet. I've had an innumerable about of meltdowns. Messier than a truckload of popsicles on the 4th of July. Giant big sticky messes. The good news is that every sticky mess gets to be followed up with a shower. And the Atonement is my spiritual shower.

God will give me challenges I can't handle. But he won't ever give me any that I can't handle with Him.

Thats all for the moment. Just letting y'all know that I love you and think about you just enough to not get too distracted!

<3 Sister McCall

Gus, Don't Be An Incorrigible Porccupine!

Have you ever watched Psych? The most addictingly-hilarious-but-family-friendly-tv-show ever in the history of the world? Well that should be tempting enough to make you start watching it. In early 2011 my parents succumbed to the pressures of Netflix. And our lives were changed forever.

We would spend every night curled up on the couch with Shawn and Gus (and sometimes our friends Ben and Jerry would join too) for some good laughs and mommy daughter bonding time. I keep hearing claims over and over again that tv time detracts from the family but watching things together has lead to a lot of bonding time!

So you might be at the point where you're thinking "Sister McCall you have seriously detracted from the purpose of your blog. Go write this on your other one." I promise I'm not.

In one episode the all knowing Gus picks on Shawn for a bit asking him if he's ever even read from the Bible. Shawn's response is "Yeah of course I have! You know....Genesis, Exorcist, Leviathin...Doooooo the right thing?"

Oh dear.

The main reason I wanted to share that moment is to share that in my Old Testament reading I'm finally to Doooooooo the right thing! Whew! Numbers is over (which he somehow left out...)

I track my reading on a handwritten chart and I was thinking about making a printable version so you fellow readers can mark your own progress. Leave a comment if you'd like one!

My Own Sacred Grove

This blog is becoming a place for my confessions. Yesterday while I was sitting at my desk to study I caught myself in an all too familiar dazed state of half sleep. This time with a little puddle of drool. Yes. Embarrassing I know.

My time in the morning to study from the scriptures is so sacred and special to me and I know that its the foundation a happy day is built on, but I keep catching myself with the drool face over and over again!

When I had meltdowns in the past (read basically all through high school and college) my mom would always start with asking me this question, "Have you been reading your scriptures and saying your prayers?"

And I'd make and angry grunting noise and growl, "Noooooooooo".

Shouldn't that have been the hint for me to start? Probably. I mean, yes mom. You were right.
Life's a bumpy ride no matter what, but the days I'm drool free in the morning it's like my emotional shocks are in good shape. (The analogy queen strikes again!)

Here's the way the set up should be, no saliva included.

How do you keep yourself chipper and focused when you study the scriptures? I'm willing to try out any suggestions. (And another shout out to mom, yes I'm getting 8 hours of sleep)

When I consider my study space I want it to be a place where my mind can be solely on the spiritual. I like to think of it as my own sacred grove. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the sacred grove, it is the small forest where as a young boy in 1820 Joseph Smith prayed sincerely to God to know what church to join. And he didn't just get a one word answer. He had a world changing experience. And this is the teaser trailer for it. To find out what really right here!

The Hundreds

Lists. Are. The. Best.
They keep my head all straightened out when it's getting funky. A few months ago my friend Sister Joy Valentine challenged me and a few of our friends to make a list of 100 things that make us happy. Just reading through my list makes me grin so I'll share mine and then the challenge is for you to create your own and review it often!

talking with a good friend
reading a good book
craft stores
cutting quilt blocks
learning about mi familia
being with my family
learning a new skill
studying the scriptures
funny pictures
clean jokes
nail polish
good hair days
children laughing
unexpected visits with friends
beautiful hymns
feeling the Spirit
the moment someone understands what I'm teaching
cutting up magazines
squishing things between my fingers and toes
flat bike rides (hills do NOT make me happy. unless I'm going down them)
playing with kids
making other people laugh
folding paper cranes and stars
when people tell me they were thinking about me
finishing a journal
home cooked dinner
helping someone else
shoe clearance sales
bright colored walls
red pandas & okapis
figuring out a math problem
89 cent cones
holding hands
beach bonfires
inside jokes
photo albums and memories
general conference
seeing the success of my friends
wedding announcements
graduation caps & gowns
new school supplies
long drives
temple trips
sincere apologies
swings at the park
ultimate frisbee
co-op deli sandwiches
herb store smell (mmm! lavendar and chamomile)
someone playing with my hair
back scratches
hair cuts
San Francisco
trying new things
reading poetry
praise & recognition
new markers/pencils/crayons/paint
fixing things
sunshine & rain
paint chips
really all weather
lighting storms with thunder
board games
licorice spice herbal tea
recognizing progress
finding a perfect gift for someone
hoops & yoyo cards
being let into a house while tracting
priesthood blessings
writing lists
accomplishing goals
old book smell
leg warmers
seeing babies walk
text messages
hot tubs
snow ball fights
organizing things
clean laundry
new beginnings

Leave a link to YOUR post on what makes you happy. I'd love to check them out!

Here is my friend Emma's, she's the first one on the ball!

WOW isn't World of Warcraft

I've grown up always being a bit of the "weird one out". My friends thought I was odd for not drinking, not wearing tank tops or short shorts, not shopping or hanging out with friends on Sundays, and especially not getting wrapped up in the drug world of marijuana that surrounded us all in Northern California. I was the "good girl". And I stuck to it.

Because I held firm to my standards most everyone knew I was different. "She's Mormon, she can't do that" they'd say. But instead of "I can't" I like to think of my standards as "I can!".

One "rule" or commandment in particular that I follow is called the Word of Wisdom. From the outside it looks like a long list of "you cant's." No alcohol, no tobacco, no tea, no drugs, no coffee." What gets ignored a lot of the time are the good things! Like eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, meat sparingly, and to be mindful of portion control.

On a drive back home from Clarksville, TN the other day we pulled a pit stop in a tobacco field to take these memorable photos. (A funny place to take a moment and embrace the camera)  Now I may be wagging my finger saying "No no none for you" which pretty much goes totally against what I've just said about the W.O.W. Hopefully its just a fun reminder that even though I live what may be considered a strict lifestyle it doesn't mean I think I'm better or above anyone who doesn't live that way.

I feel kind of like LeVar Burton right now. (Did anyone else out there watch Reading Rainbow and Star Trek as religiously as I did growing up?) 

You don't have to take MY word for it!

On facebook two of my friends shared some reasons why living the WOW has blessed their lives:

Michael: In so many ways! I have been able to have the health & the capacities that I want to preform everything that I want to do. I remember going to my grandparents home (who drink and smoke a ton) for holidays and other events. Every time I went there the environment in the house was pretty bleak and the smoke that fills the house just gave me this head ache and I felt sick. When I was in 7th grade I remember being offered to take steroids by another student there. I never accepted the offer. Now that same student is in a pretty hard place right now and has a lot of health challenges.

Elder Jake Pulsipher: I have the spirit to be with me always and I am free to make choices every single day. I don't have to take time out of my day to smoke a cigarette and I don't have to deal with the relationship strains that come from drug and alcohol use. I am free from the influences of Satan and I don't have anything that holds me back from doing the things I want to do. The Word of Wisdom gives me more freedom!

All About The Heart

We humans are pretty obsessed with love. We read about it, we sing about it, we watch movies about it, talk about how wonderful life is with it, curse it when it goes wrong, and float in the clouds when we've found it. Don't deny it. Every person feels this way.

Confession time, I've been boy crazy since I was 4. Sister Tauoa was laughing about my stories the other day of every boy from pre-school to 12th grade that I thought I was madly head over heels in love with. Each time I met one I thought I was done for. I knew that my beating aorta couldn't ever be slowed down because I had found the one my dreams were made of! Wellllllllll....I was wrong. Every time. Ha ha! But what I've learned is how there is something of our soul that craves that big L word.

There are so many kinds of love and really only one that fully satisfies all of our needs. And no, it isn't the love of watermelon. Although that comes mighty close.

It is the love of our Savior Jesus Christ! I recently read 3 Nephi 12, which is really similar to Matthew 5, the beatitudes. We have in there a whole long list of attributes that Jesus exemplified when during His ministry (in Jerusalem and in the Americas). And what do they all come back to? Amor. Love. I just kept coming back to that word in my mind while I read this verse:

"And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled." (3 Nephi 12:19)

The reason I keep God's commandments is because it's how I can show Him how much I love Him! All I have to give is my will and my heart. I can promise that as we all give our hearts to God that we'll find a satisfaction that can come from nothing else. The glittery hearts and butterflies in the stomach are great, and I expect to have many more of them in the future, but none of those are worth the happiness in my heart that comes from Christ.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments" John 14:15

Happy as Myself

Yesterday I reread one of my favorite talks from President Ezra Taft Benson called The Faces of Pride. Its become one of my favorites because it has a perfect balance of seriously rebuking me into humility while also being filled with so much love and kindness I just feel happy when I read it.

I had never thought before that being prideful would cause me to have low self-esteem, but it really does.

The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough. Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure.”

If we love God, do His will, and fear His judgment more than men’s, we will have self-esteem.

Here's a reminder to myself and to all of us. Comparing myself to the success of others does nothing good for me. Typically I compare my weaknesses against others strengths and that isn't really a fair measuring rod!
A southern phrase that I'm adopting quickly is "don't be ugly". Its mostly used by moms towards children who are speaking nasty not nice things about others. Ugly words do us no good. And there will be no ugly thoughts about myself or others thank you very much!
I learn the most about how to ditch that pride when I study the Book of Mormon. As summer camp wrapped up last week I wondered what I'd have to write about next. A good friend of mine is searching for some help and meaning in her life and since I find it in that blue book I suggest she try it too. Her search for understanding is going to pay off in future blog posts for you! Are you excited?
That answer better be yes!