Friday, May 30, 2014

LAUGH! -- It's Good For Ya!

Hola Todos!

It's me! Sister Franklin... Just stoppin' in to say a quick hello and share a few thoughts. My comp and I had to make a quick visit to the library to take care of some computer business... so it looks like I have a minute to spend on the ol' blog. 

Random interlude: 

For those who don't know or haven't pieced it together... I'm currently serving way out on the eastern end of Long Island. I got blinded into a ward that hasn't had Sisters here in YEARS. It's been an ADVENTURE to say the least. It's as though I've been transfered to a different mission completely... The City is NOTHING like the Island. People (when found) are not in constant motion and people actually say hi back to me out here. Haha.
A few things I've rediscovered that I (quite literally) forgot existed: 
Lawns. Backyards. Houses. Space. Silence. Trees. Nice people. Parking lots. And.....
My Drivers License.
Haha... Driving around instead of walking around has been an interesting adjustment. None of my clothes fit anymore. It's great. Haha.

The ward I'm serving in is THE BOMB. I LOVE it. Everything about it. The people are so kind, loving and willing to help us with just about anything. AND they fit us REAL good food. (Hence the tight clothes...) I've been so lucky to serve in the best wards in the world during my time as a missionary. Truly, the best.


The other day my companion and I on the 495 were making the long drive home from a doctors visit in Manhattan. We ended up on the road just when rush-hour traffic was hitting its peak of slowness. The freeway was practically a parking lot. We waited and waited. I occasionally tapped the gas pedal only to put my foot right back on the brake. Though the situation was kind of crummy and rather inconvenient my comp and I were lost in a conversation about embarrassing moments we had as missionaries and otherwise. We passed the time by singing along to the ultra cheesy/corny 90's EFY music in our car and laughed till our stomachs hurt. I hardly noticed the bad traffic! When suddenly, I found myself staring at the drivers/passengers in the neighboring stationary cars...... And what I saw taught me a lesson.

No one else was laughing, no one was even smiling. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Everyone had looks of impatience, annoyance and even outright anger as they honked their horns and yelled at other drivers trying to merge onto the crowded freeway. 
"Are we the only one's out the millions of people here having fun? " I asked my companion. 
She looked around and saw what I was seeing, and answered, "Yeah, I guess we are."

How sad. Being angry, upset and depressed about the slow traffic was certainly NOT going to magically change the situation... And yes, I know... Smiling didn't change it either. 

We had to sit through the inconvenient traffic either way. 
So what's my point? The point is... which would you rather remember? That day where you spent 2 hours groaning and griping and moved only 4 miles? Or that day that you spent having memorable hilarious conversation with your best friend? 
We are all going to find ourselves in situations we have not anticipated and are not sure how to handle. If we laugh, we may find that at least some of the handling takes care of itself. We can’t always choose what we look at, but we can choose what we see. 
Life is WAAAAYYY too short to be spent being mad about it. You're spending 2 hours stuck in traffic either way, you're going to be late either way! SO... you might as well spend those 2 hours making a good memory. 

Good humor and the ability to laugh at myself has carried me through SO MUCH on my mission. Besides the love of the Savior, Laughter has been the single most important medicine and cure all for difficult times. I'll probably come home with a permanent smile on my face and laugh lines on my eyes because I've had to learn to laugh at my millions of mistakes in order to survive. And you know what, that's okay. Because laughing has helped me find joy in those refining moments that would otherwise be quite painful.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said it best when he said: “We’ve got to have a little humor in our lives. You had better take seriously that which should be taken seriously but, at the same time, we can bring in a touch of humor now and again. If the time ever comes when we can’t smile at ourselves, it will be a sad time.” 
Good clean humor improves our attitude, builds relationship with others, and helps us successfully cope with all our challenges. Whether we are experiencing an anxious moment in the office, having to go back and correct a mistake, or just trying to handle the trials of everyday living like traffic jams, humor can make nearly anything a happy, memorable part of our lives. If we can appropriately laugh at it, we can live with it. 
So, c'mon! Just LAUGH! —it’s good for ya!
And please, read/listen to this talk. I love Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. This talk has always helped me keep the perspective I've needed to get through!

LOVE you all!

Sister Franklins

Monday, May 19, 2014

A List of Good Things that I will Remember About this Week...

Tara asked me, Mom, to start posting her weekly email on her blog again.  They won’t always be the same as before – lessons or thoughtful reflections, but I am sure that you will enjoy hearing from her.  (I made a list of the things that I would remember from my trip to New Orleans for an IRA Conference.  I mentioned that I didn’t “love it” meaning I didn’t love New Orleans.  This was her reply…)

So, "List Form" today, huh?...My week was interesting. I mean, I didn't "love it"... but it was still good. Here's a list of good things I will remember about this week...

1.) We had an awesome lesson with a new investigator. M____. 

Story time:  M____ is the husband of one of the sisters in the ward. She is the first councilor in the Relief Society Presidency. (This is a second marriage for her.) Now, M____ grew up in New Jersey and lived there for most of his life. He went to Ruckers University and became a successful businessman. He grew up in a conservative Jewish home but didn't really practice a Jewish lifestyle when he became an adult. He lived with women on and off and had a lot of money. However, he wasn't really satisfied with his life, he knew something was missing. When it became frustrating and he began to feel hopeless he turned to alcohol. Years passed and he fell into the life of an addict. He couldn't go a day without liquor... And he nearly drank himself to death. 

M____ decided that there had to be something more out there, a better life than what he had made for himself. He quit his job and got help to recover from his addiction to alcohol. He began attending different religious services with friends to gain a better relationship with God.

In the process of making this lifestyle change he met a beautiful Mexican woman who happened to be a Mormon. He hardly knew what a Mormon was... other than that she didn't drink. And that was FINE with him.

After some time dating he learned more about her faith and he admired her for how dedicated she was to her religion. He didn't really have interest in joining the church at the time, but he knew there was something very special about this woman. They were married here in the Brentwood chapel by the bishop of the Brentwood ward. 

And here... several years later.... He's ready to learn "just what it is that makes his beautiful wife so special".

SO.... this was the second lesson we've had with M____ and it was truly amazing. He had a spiritual confirmation about Jesus Christ and his divine role as the Savior of the world. Since he grew up Jewish he never really considered the role that Jesus plays in each of our lives. He was able to better understand the power of the atonement and what that means for him SPECIFICALLY. It was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever taught on my mission. 

He's praying about getting baptized in June. We'll see how things play out, but man, I feel so blessed to know him!

2.) I ate this.....

Fried beetles?

Just kidding. Black rice. I'd never seen it before! you?

3.) We re-did the bulletin board for our ward and everyone said, "Looks like Brentwood got Sisters..." Haha... Wish I had a before and after picture but let's just say it was looking SAD when we got here. Poor Elders. They have their strengths. Haha.

4.) We painted about 40 planter Boxes in West Islip.... I don't think they realized there would only be 6 of us. Haha. It took FOREVER... but they bought us pizza afterward, so it was all worth it.  This lady named "B___" was in charge of it... a TRUE New Yorker, Feminist, Liberal, Business Owner, Animal Rights Activist, Vegetarian... The works. Haha. We had some great conversations, Ohhhh B___. We love ya.

5.) EVERYTHING IS GREEN! It took a while for it all to grow in, but the trees are looking happy and leafy. It's nice to be in on the island for this season. There's GRASS! REAL grass! The city doesn't have grass. Like, literally none. The parks don't even have grass more than half the time. Just asphalt and concrete.

6.) Finally, ate dinner at the F______ house... A HILARIOUS family in our ward that we've been wanting to meet with for FOREVER. We played Ping-Pong and croquette and had steak. Boo-yeah. And guess what... I rocked croquette and... I'll  have to work on Ping-Pong. I'm pretty much crap at that. Haha.

7.) I had a bit of a break down about going home. It FINALLY hit me that I'm going home in about 13 weeks. That's just not right! It flew by too fast! I honestly don't know where the time went. 

And Satan sure works on you HARD when you're getting ready to finish up. He works double time on missionaries already... but he really wants you to feel cruddy when you're on the home stretch. Every time something awful happened he said, "wow... good thing you're still a rotten missionary and don't have time to improve." And every time something great happened he said, "Well, enjoy it now because you're DONE. Won't be seein' this anymore sucka!" 

What a jerk!

But I feel better now. :) I've got less time than I've ever had, yet I have more time then I'll ever have again. It's all about perspective.

8.) Had one of these!!!! First time in more than a year! I LOVE you Jamba. There ARE perks to your companion visiting a doctor in Manhattan!

Well, that's a wrap. Hopefully there will be more good news next week! 

Lately I've been learning about perseverance and what it TRULY means to endure. I'll let you know what I've discovered as I study it up this week!

I love you and I get excited everyday when I get to open a new count down quote from you!  (The Count Down Quote is something that I did for Tara.  I collected memes, quotes, thoughts, etc.  It started April 20th, Easter and will go until August 20th, her 18 month mark and possible release date.  She has an envelope to open everyday with one of the memes, thoughts, quotes… that I collected for her.  It is our “thoughtful” countdown to the end of her mission.  She and her companion, Sister Porter, call it there daily dose of Jill.)

Life is great, so enjoy it!

Love, Tara