Sunday, June 21, 2015

some happy, grateful thoughts...just because

Seeing how I hardly even really HAVE a blog anymore, I found these two little journal entries from my time at home these past couple of weeks, and thought I'd post them here. Why? I don't know, maybe just as a really quick way to actually update my blog. That and to say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to my dad! He really is the most incredible man I know, and I honestly don't know how he does what he does. He is basically a really huge miracle in my life (well I guess technically I'm a miracle in his life, seeing how I came to him and not the other way around...but either way, he works miracles in my life all the time!). And I think there is one line in my journal entries that mentions him, so it counts for today.

Fri, May 29:

Today, I am incredibly grateful for my family and the time I've been able to spend with them these past 2 weeks. I am so grateful that all most post-travel class work was independent study and that my research assistant professor allowed me to work remotely so that I could come home for a much-needed respite. I'm grateful for a family who allowed me to come home and study, who didn't have any expectations but just let me be myself and do what I needed to do, and who don’t judge me for having forgotten most of my piano skills! I'm grateful for parents who fed me, helped me fix my car, and otherwise get my life in order! I'm constantly amazed by my incredible mom and how she studies through the evening after taking care of her family all day, and how my dad seems to make everything run so seamlessly and never doesn't have time to help us out even as he works so hard to support the family. Plus I love that he still thinks I'm 21 even though I'm almost 23. I am grateful for the time I could spend with the best little brother anyone could ask for, especially as we sat side by side doing our homework because we're both lucky enough to be in summer classes. I'm grateful for my little sister who will always be the sunshine in our family. I’m grateful for Lola and how she just follows us around all day and is the best companion. And I'm grateful that we all get to be together a little longer in Utah!

Wed June 3:
Tonight was practically perfect. After feeling very productive and accomplished from the day's work, I set the table and helped mom finish making dinner, then we all (Mom, Dad, Victor, and I) ate dinner around the table in the sunroom. While still around the dinner table, I grabbed the Book of Mormon and read half a chapter, and Victor read the other half. Then he and I went on a bike ride along the canal and through the neighborhoods in the beautiful, perfect weather. I listened to my favorite Pandora station as I cleaned the kitchen and boiled eggs so Mom will have some when she needs, and Victor finished his homework nearby. Then I ate a dark chocolate Klondike bar with my feet in the pool and Lola next to me...and I even let her lick the ice cream off my fingers. Then I went through some old piano music and had such a nice time playing and singing at the piano. I still had lots of energy, so I stayed up and finished the last two chapters of my international business textbook and quizzes, and overall had an average score of 96% for all 20 quizzes. I celebrated by eating cold cereal out of a mug and reading "Wesley the Owl" :)

...and now a picture stolen from my sister's blog, because blogposts without pictures and with this many words are boring.
see this family? yeah...they rock. and I'm eternally grateful for them.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

we're good!

today as I was leaving work, I was walking to my car in the semi-sketchy (but not really) parking garage, and I saw a young man just "chilling." I had a thought that I should give him a #becauseHelives card for Easter (apparently I still enjoy the thrill that comes from handing complete strangers cards with pictures of Jesus on them), so I walked up to him, handed it to him, wished him and his buddy a Happy Easter, and walked away. As I was pulling out, his buddy waved at me and nodded and smiled in kind of a "knowing" kind of way...and I freaked out because I remembered writing something on the back of the card the other day - my number?! Had I really just given my number to two strange young men sitting in the parking garage?! Basically I freaked out and felt super dumb and said a prayer that no creepy phone calls would be coming my way.


Until I remembered that I'm not a missionary anymore and I don't write my number on pass-along cards anymore - I just write cute, little, nonthreatening notes!

Wooh! We're goooood.

But seriously, after thinking today a little bit about how many mistakes I've made in my 22 years thus far (like almost giving my number to strange men), and how many I know I'll continue to make, I am that much more grateful for the sacrifice that my Savior Jesus Christ made for me and for all of us - that He gives us fresh starts and new beginnings, and that through Him, there is always hope. Happy Easter weekend!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

So blessed!

Well...I think it's about time I end my blogging hiatus! After a year and a half of my sweet sister updating my blog every week, it's been harder than I expected getting back into actually doing it myself haha (that said, Jenessa, if you ever feel like updating my blog again...be my guest!). At first I was waiting for that "perfect" time to update it, with something profound or something, but of course that meant just procrastinating it further. Well folks, it's time. Hannah is back :)

That said, I was just overwhelmed this morning by how blessed I am! Coming off the mission is never easy of course, but life isn't meant to be easy, and I am so grateful for how much Heavenly Father has helped and supported me, and all the incredible opportunities He's given me and amazing people He's put in my life. It is amazing how much He loves His children!

So let's just pick up where the last post ended, almost 2 months ago to the day :)

Last week of the mish:
ok so this wasn't actually the last week, but I kept forgetting to send it home. so here you go :)
My SISTER got to come see me on my last proselyting day as a missionary! Guys, this is like, UNHEARD of. It was amazing. We got to go to a dinner appointment and teach a lesson side by side. So grateful for that she moved to Kansas and was so close so she was able to do that! Thanks Momma Jensen!

Last week = lots of goodbyes, including the sweet Ramm family

my wonderful companion, Sis Matley!

Soooo needless to say, by the time we made it to the mission home, we were exhausted! It wasn't over yet though...the evening was full of testimonies, pictures, final interviews with President Jensen, delicious food, and lots of laughs about how much we loooove Iowa.

In the airport headed to Arizona with Elder Jackson and Sister Paul
Coming home...so many emotions :) 




 The awesome signs they were holding:






After being officially released...I'm surprised (and grateful!) that my face isn't super red from crying haha
Homecoming Sunday with my cute little sister...who apparently is taller than me now :)

In the next couple of weeks, two others we were teaching when I left got baptized! My heart was full from knowing that, of course, the work goes on :) Miracles!!

Deborah

Jim

First week home: Mesa, Arizona!
The first thing I did when I got home? Tore off my black tights! I forgot how warm January in Arizona can be!

KJ's swim meet :) I was so happy that not only was I not wearing a snow coat and boots...I wasn't even wearing a SWEATER!
on the way to church with these sweet boys :)



I was so happy to finally hold a baby again haha :) Thanks to Lana and Levi, it was the cutest baby ever!
Gilbert, AZ temple

Week 2 (and on): San Jose, CA
One week to the day of coming home, my incredible mother and Kristina drove me out to San Jose - my old stomping ground! I can't get over how blessed I am here. Because I came home two weeks after BYU winter semester started, I decided to not start school until spring. I am now working as a financial analyst intern at Hedge Trackers, LLC, where I am blessed with some amazing co-workers and am learning so much! I am also incredibly blessed to be able to live with the amazing Dean family! They treat me like a daughter/sister and I couldn't be more lucky than to live with them. Being here has meant re-connecting with old friends, meeting lots of new people through the YSA ward and institute, and enjoying the beautiful sights of the Bay Area!


best babysitting job ever. And, I was a super good cheerleader. Just sayin. :)

loved seeing these boys again -
they are seriously like my brothers!


I love love love going on hikes on Saturday morning! I just can't get over how beautiful it is here.

DG! I love this girl. So glad we've stayed in touch :)

thanks to Jen working for the Shark's, she's able to hook us up with free tickets! Go Sharks!

Naomi! friends since Castlemont :)
Kaleigh Butler, at the Oakland Temple :)









FHE fun...yeah, these people have a SLIDE in their HOUSE!
it's really been amazing being able to come back to the temple I grew up going to!

view from the Oakland Temple


I LOVE hanging with the sister missionaries! They are seriously the greatest friends to have haha

more FHE fun

and, I get to hang out with these cool kats. or dogs. But I love them haha!

naturally, the Bay Area wouldn't be complete without plenty of Asian food...


and today...

I'M GOING TO KANSAS AND MISSOURI TO SEE MY FAMILIA!!!!

Victor is graduating and we're all going out! Family reunion for the win. It's been way too long. I seriously cannot wait!

As a final note, I bought new shoes today! (I had a picture, but I can't seem to upload it for some reason...) That might seem like a weird "final note" thing to share, but there were so many tender mercies. I told the lady working there that I needed new running shoes because mine are so old that they are painful, and she was sooo nice. She tried a few on me, and they felt so good! And then I realized...the pair I liked was $160. NO WAY could I pay that! She was SO understanding and was like, oh, let me go see if I can find some marked-down shoes for you! She found some that were half the price and still felt wonderful. Plus one of my co-workers gave me a 10% off coupon. The best part, though, was while we were talking, I mentioned that I just got back from my mission. She was like, "Are you Christian?" when I responded positively, she got all excited and was like, "Me too!" and told me all about how and why she decided to get baptized a couple years ago. It was so sweet. We shared some experiences together about how good God is to each of us, and I was able to give her a #BecauseHeLives Easter card. She was so happy to take it, and I left feeling like we were meant to meet this morning.

Heavenly Father's hand is in each of our lives. That I know! He loves us and He wants us to be happy. I am so grateful for these last couple of months, as my relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ has continued to grow and deepen. I am so grateful for them!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"Iowa: A Place to Grow"

Departing Nauvoo Temple Trip--
jumping off the steps in celebration
Dear loved ones,

Well...this is it. It was so crazy to read all your emails and realize that I'm at the end! Thanks for your love and support. It has meant so, so much!

So naturally, even though I'll see you on Friday, I have a ton to say!...
Scary story first...if it'll stress you out, don't read it and I'll just tell you about it when I get home ;) Monday was p-day, and part-way through the day it started snowing. And kept snowing, and kept snowing...the roads got really bad and we ended up getting "grounded" that evening. The departing temple trip was scheduled for the next day, and since I'm the only departing sister on the west side of the mission, Sis. Matley and I had received permission to drive to Iowa City Monday night so we wouldn't have to drive ourselves early the next morning. However, with the snow, the assistants told us, "definitely, do NOT drive tonight!" so we didn't, of course haha. But, with all the snow, we decided to meet the assistants and the departing elder at the stake center the following morning at 5:30 AM ("oh-dark thirty," as Jenny would call it :) )to give us plenty of time to drive. The elders drove in front of us in the transfer van, and we followed behind in the minivan. Everything went smoothly, until we hit some black ice. The roads had been seemingly clear so we had been driving 70 mph at that point (Sis. Matley was driving, not me! :) ), and when we hit the black ice, we started sliding across the freeway worse that I have ever experienced. In the chaos, Sis. Matley yelled, "PRAY!" and I closed my eyes, gripped the door handle, braced myself for the crash, and started praying out loud over and over until we finally just stopped. I opened my eyes and our car had crashed into the cables along the highway divider and was in a little ditch, but we literally had not felt a thing - no jolt or anything like that. Poor Sis. Matley was shaking and started crying when we realized we were safe! A police man pulled up about a minute or so later and pushed us out of the ditch, and we were able to go the rest of the way without any problems (and there was just a small dent in the front of the car...but I do feel really bad about that). We had prayed before we left home that angels would protect us on the road, and I really believe that that prayer was answered.
Departing Nauvoo Temple Trip
Anyways, the temple trip was incredible! Sis. Matley stayed in Iowa City (which was fun for her because that was her old area) and the rest of the missionaries either met us there in IC or in Nauvoo, depending on where they are serving. It was so wonderful to be there with the whole group of departing missionaries - I love them so much! There was so much love and inclusiveness in the group. The temple session was beautiful. It was a really spiritual experience to be there with the other missionaries and with President and Sister Jensen and to reflect on and pray about my mission. Afterwards, we took a couple pictures and walked around a little, but it was SO cold so none of us wanted to take very many pictures haha. Then we all had dinner together at a Mexican restaurant in Keokuk, IA. The drive back was fun; we definitely ended up singing hymns together in the car haha. When is that acceptable except on a mission?! Basically, I loved it. Sis. Matley and I drove the van back to Des Moines that night...we were nervous because we were still pretty shaken up about that morning, and the wind and snow drifts were bad, so we spent the last hour or so singing hymns ourselves to keep us calm. We were really grateful to make it back safely :)

Nauvoo Temple
Wednesday was so frigidly cold (with the wind it was somewhere between 20 and 40 below zero...big range, but people would tell us different things :) )that we weren't allowed to go outside to knock doors or anything - we could only go if we had a car and were going to appointments. Well, Sis. Matley and I had appointments all day, and we ended up finding 4 new investigators, haha! It was sweet! We had a super spiritual lesson with one and he wants to get baptized!!! We will meet with him again tonight, but he talked about getting baptized on the 24th (he's been going to church and studying for about a year now) and baptizing his 8-year-old daughter, the next week :) gah! I wish I could be here for it...but I am so happy for them, they are incredible!

Thursday was KJ's birthday :) We had district meeting, then drove to Osceola for exchanges with the Lamoni sisters. I went to Lamoni with Sis. Zendejas, and it was so wonderful - there were so many tender mercies! We had so many good visits with people. We saw the Slayton's that evening, and the next morning we volunteered at the Lamoni library and I got to see our former investigator as well as the sweet librarian we knew well. Man, how I love that town!



Friday and Saturday were crazy stressful with getting the baptisms planned. And Saturday evening, two ladies were both baptized!!!! It was a miracle!!!! 



I honestly couldn't have asked the baptism to have gone any better. The talks and songs were perfect. The Spirit was so strong. I couldn't believe it went so well. Then the next day at church, they were both confirmed, and the blessings were sooo beautiful! It was amazing to see them both so happy. My heart was so full in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. We had all our recent converts there as well as four investigators. Heavenly Father has been so good to me.

I am so grateful for you all for all you've done for me, especially while I've been here serving - and especially you Mom and Dad :) Thank you so much. I realize more and more how blessed I truly am. I am so grateful for my mission. I know that this was exactly where Heavenly Father wanted me, and where I needed to be. As they say, Iowa truly is "A Place to Grow" :) I have learned so much and hope that I can be forever changed because of the experiences that I've had. Most of all, I know that this gospel is true! The doctrine of Christ allows us to change, to become like Christ, and to be cleansed and sanctified so that we can return and live with our Father in Heaven. I know that we're led by a prophet of God on earth today. I have felt so many times the confirmation that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God and that this Church is Christ's church and is led by Him. I know that Heavenly Father loves us perfectly. Sometimes He allows us to struggle, but I am grateful for the struggle, because it's what allows us to become like Him. Most of all, I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and that the Atonement is real and helps us and heals us more than we can even know! Miracles happen every day, and it's all because of Him :)

I read this scripture in one of my first couple of transfers, and it's kind of cheesy but it's also totally perfect for a final end-of-mission scripture!:
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my  departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have  finished my course, I have kept the faith"               (2 Timothy 4:6-7).

I LOVE YOU!!!

Love,
Sister Whipple
I AM GOING TO MISS THIS :)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"We say these things"

acting out the Nativity with the Andelin's :) we didn't take a ton of cool pictures this week, so I thought I'd just include this from last week since I forgot it :)

Hello lovelies,

So I bore my testimony in church yesterday, and I've become such an awkward missionary that I accidently went from saying "I know..." to "we know..." and was like, "we say these things...um, I say these things in the name..." haha I looked at Sis. Matley across the chapel and we both almost started laughing :)

Anyways, Sis. Matley and I had a good week! Honestly this has been probably the busiest transfer of my mission, which is a blessing for sure, but you might have to drag me off the plane - I'm exhausted! :) Thanks for all the encouraging emails - they mean so much and help me to be motivated and pumped once again :)

We went on two exchanges this week - one with Walnut Hills, the other with Winterset. Walnut Hills was on Tuesday; I went with Sister Morris, a brand new missionary, in their area. She is amazing, I love her...but I definitely learned a lot because it was not an easy exchange, haha! They had three baptisms the first three weeks of the transfer, but now they don't really have any investigators, so we spent the entire day, minus the time in the evening that we had dinner and went to a baptism, walking and "finding." I guess I forgot how to prepare for doing that in 6 degree weather, because I felt colder than ever! I don't know how the pioneers did it, because I was in warm winter boots, gloves, puffy coat, layers of shirts, leggings, etc., and I thought I was going to die hahaha. It was good though! After the exchange was over, I didn't feel like I had been much help, so I spent some time praying about how to help them (because I don't know how they do that every day, and it's just getting colder!), and I was able to come up with a list of ideas to help them find people to teach and mix up their activities. I was really grateful that Heavenly Father helped me with that, because I felt a lot better after giving them that list :)

For the exchange with Winterset, I stayed here with Sis. Howard. I learned a lot from that one too :) Thankfully we had some good appointments, so even though we still did some finding, we were able to keep busy and have some sweet lessons :) We finished our exchange by all meeting up at Smokey Row for lunch...Sis. Barker and I ate lunch their for her 18th click day, and Saturday was mine, so we kept it as a tradition :)

For New Year's Eve, Sis. Strayer picked us up (since our cars were grounded at 6) and took us to her apartment, where we enjoyed dinner and some time with her. That was about it - we definitely still enjoyed going to bed at 10:30 PM :)

In other exciting news, gas is down to $1.89 around here, and I'm going to the Nauvoo temple tomorrow with President and Sister Jensen and the other departing missionaries :) I'm not excited to be leaving the mission, but I sure am excited for the temple and this trip! :)

This gospel changes lives, that's for sure. A girl we are working with and getting baptized soon, always talks about how happy we all are, and I know that that's because we have hope and we know the Plan of Salvation and everything that comes along with having the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! I'm so grateful for that. I love you soooo much!

Love,
Sister Whipple