Sunday, November 20, 2011

Well folks, it seems like I have a boyfriend...

So since we went public on Facebook I can only assume that telling all 7 of my followers that I have the most amazing Boyfriend ever seems OK.  Tracy is tall, dark, handsome, and Silly!  Yup, just last night he tried on a blue wig, painted my face with a Y, and skipped through a parking lot at 10 pm to catch the 2nd half of the BYU game.  Are we nerds?  Yup!  Did we have a blast?  You betcha!  Would we dress up and ask random strangers to photograph us in the future...Absolutely!  I have to say that he is rather amazing.  I realize I might be a bit biased simply because I am kissing him on a daily basis...but I think it would be true anyway!

So the 411 on Mr. Amazing-ness.  He is 6'2", brown hair/eyes, big strong hands, fantastic at basketball...though I have never seen him "Dunk it" (So Jay you can perhaps be OK with admitting your true height to Tracy.)  He is kind, and calm, and fun, and inventive.  He is a super nerd...just for those that don't know "Nerd-face" is a term of endearment in my family.  I love nerds.  He of course is an Engineer...I know, nooooooooo one is surprised.  But this engineer is just as social, just as fun, just at entertaining, and just as good at dressing as I am  (super rare for an Engineer.)  I would say he is well rounded, and collects skills/talents like some collect facebook friends.  I am impressed by him daily.  We talk & talk, and he loves my soap boxes...and I love his.  More often then not we share matching soap boxes...though he said he would never succumb to matching track suits...though I might have to buy some to tease him at some point in life.  He has even taken some improv workshops at another improv group.  I do have to admit that when he tries to tell an actual joke it never seems to go over well...he should stick to improv ;)  He is so good to me, is kind, and thoughtful.  I sometimes wonder how any girl could be dumb enough to have let him go.  I like that we both want to take things nice and slow.  No rushing a relationship...we are taking the time to really get to know and understand each other.  We have had some disagreements, yet have been able to quickly fix things without yelling.  Hmmm...I guess we will all have to wait and see what might come.  But for now I enjoy seeing him daily and even have fun loosing at most competitions and sports.  P.S. Tracy's pretty good at Mercy fights...just be warned. Lol.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Famous? Well maybe in Idaho.

So I am working on a movie in the middle of a desert right now, and one day as I am dressing an extra I this funny experience.  The Extra keeps looking at me smiling and shy.  He finally got his courage together and asked if he could ask me something.  He said, "I am sure you get this all of the time but are you in a bunch of movies?"  I laughed.  I said yes I am in a few cheesy ones, with very small cameos, but nothing too exciting.  He disagreed and said that he had seen me in several of his favorite movies, that he loved the cheesy Mormon Movies.  I laughed and told him that really the only place that people think I'm famous is in Idaho.  And that more than one person had stopped me in the store when visiting family up there.  It has been funny to be asked in the middle of Shopko pr Wal-mart if I am "Sonja Nelson", or asked if I was in such and such a movie.  Once someone told me that they had a "Sonja Nelson Movie Marathon" while they were decorating for Christmas and watched 3 of these movies back to back.  The Extra didn't think this was that funny and told me that he and his family love my movies and proceeded to tell me who I played in each one.  I was a bit shocked, and almost waited for one of the guys I work with to jump out and tell me he had put the Extra up to this and get it all on tape.  But Bruce Wing or Kee Miller or any of the other jokesters never jumped out, and this guy was in dead earnest.  The Extra told me that his Family looked for me in every movie now, and always got excited to see me appear in something new.  I was puzzled until he told me that he had to go to a wedding the next Idaho.  So again, I find it funny that Idaho thinks so highly of a wardrobe designer that is occasionally in a very small part in a movie.

But what is even stranger is that the week before and had another odd yet similar conversation.  I was at a dear friend's wedding and I didn't know many of the people as we waited outside the temple for the couple to reappear.  I saw someone I wished to avoid and said a little prayer that I would be able to find someone to talk to instead.  An cute older couple about my parent's age approached me and asked if my face had recently been on the cover of the Ensign.  I laughed (I tend to laugh a lot in these situations...guess that is better than taking myself too seriously.) and said no, my mother would have been sure to have called me if so.  They said that all through the wedding they had been trying to figure out where they knew me from, and decided it must have been in the Ensign.  They were then puzzled and started trying to figure out how they knew me.  Again it was one of these small movies.  But then they were thrilled to talk to me about my profession in Wardrobe for film.  A conversation I like much more than my acting.  They had seen several movies I had worked on and took a list of others that they decided they needed to get at Deseret book before they went home.  But this time home was not Idaho.  It was California.  I loved being able to talk to them of some of the other more serious films I had done, and they were sweet to introduce me to all of the grooms family which I hadn't ever met.  It was a bit odd to be treated like a celeb.  I think I would be bored quickly if I had to lead that kind of life. 

But I do like the opportunity to work in what I do, and am so blessed to have been able to work on movies that are more than fluff and entertainment.  It has been amazing to use my skills to build up the kingdom, and to testify of what I believe.  Right now I am getting to work on the New Testament Library Project.  I am so grateful that I can help make a difference on such an amazing project.  I am grateful for the many teachers and opportunities I had in college and summer Theatre that have prepared me to have something to give.  Working on the Church Projects I'll never be recognized for something I made, nor my name be in credits, or have people stop me in the store and ask  if I worked on this show.  But I am honored to be able to create something worth while, that will change lives and help others to come unto Christ.  This project could have rolled on with out me and done just fine.  But I am thankful that I can assist in some small measure with so many other talented women.  I am also grateful for the many hands that are serving for free.  We have a sister missionary and several other amazing seamstresses who have sacrificed their time talents and skills to be able to come and help us build the clothing that is helping to tell the greatest accounts of history.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Feeling Rather Blessed!

I looked at a few of my friends and family's blogs tonight and decided I should write as well.  It had been sometime since I wrote. 

I have been thinking so much about how much I have, and how grateful for the people and things that shaped and influenced my life and Character.  I have been talking to a guy a lot lately....Let's call him "Bob."  As we have been getting to know each other better it has been interesting to see how many things in my life I have learned from, and have overcome, and survived, and grown because of. 

Tonight I told him a few stories of heartache, sorrow, and fear.  But as I finished the stories that had once been so devastating and hard to live through I said that I wouldn't trade those experiences now for anything.  I learned so much about who I am, I learned to call on God, to use the healing power of the Atonement, to trust in the Lord with all my heart.  I learned to choose to move on with life, to look for ways to solve the problems instead of be for ever crushed or conquered by them.  I learned that there was more out there for Sonja Nelson.  I have reflected on these life changing things to relate and empathise with others.  I learned that I could choose to be fearful, or bitter or I could choose to be happy.  I could look at the bright side, try to find the irony and humor or be a dark cloud of negativity.  I am grateful for the hardships I have undergone. 

I am sorry for the extra problems I have caused for myself by trying to solve it all alone at times.  And I am ever so grateful that I do not have to take life on solo.  I am grateful for my family, for my friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even complete strangers that have lifted me, strengthened me, given me advice, listened to my woes, helped me laugh and smile when things looked grim, and challenged me to be better than I was.  I am grateful for the Love and beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful to know that He Atoned for the sin's of the world, but most especially mine.  I am grateful that Christ has fulfilled His part of the Eternal Plan of Salvation so that each of us might look to Him and live.  He is the way, the truth and the life.  He has paid the price for each of us to become clean, pure, whole and someday be like Him.  It is up to us to fully turn our hearts, find the strength to trudge on, calling on His name and trusting in Our Father's care.  I have seen God's Hand in my life.  I know He lives, that He loves me and that He has a plan for me.  He does not stop me from getting injured on the rocks of the shore of life, but he can help me land more easily, be stronger to meet the opposition, and heal my cuts and injuries so I might be whole once more. 

I am grateful for the gift and Power of Prayer.  I have always known that God hears and answers my prayers, even if it is not the answer I want.  I know that I have learned to listen better, ask more direct questions, and learned to seek His will over my own.  I am blessed indeed to have been directed so carefully through out my life.  I never imagined myself to be where I am specifically today.  But I have been reflecting as I have talked and messaged "Bob" on how this is exactly where I am supposed to be, able to fulfil the tasks and opportunities in a very exciting time for me in life, in work and in my callings.  I have been prepared for such a time as this.  I am able to help, and serve, and work, and build, and in some ways pioneer a new program to much success.  Life has not been perfect, but I have become more whole because of my trust and obedience in God's Plan for me.  I am grateful that I need to not live with fear, regret, bitterness, or malice...those are some of the worst foes of Hope, Joy, Happiness, and Peace.  I am excited to see what this year has to offer, and I hope to be able to share the Hope, Joy, Happiness, and Peace that I have been given in such abundance. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tooooooooooooooo Much Help with My Single Life

Must be common problem if reality TV has made a show out of it.
This week two women offered me their unmarried sons. That has got to be one of the greatest complements. This is not the first time Parents have offered me their (not so young anymore) sons. And the ways that this is offered sometimes makes me laugh a little inside. The parents of one young man have talked to my folks and expressed their feelings in this way: “We are not sure what is wrong with our son, he must be an idiot. We really like your Sonja and do not understand what he is thinking.” I also got an interesting offer from a friend of mine not so long ago. “Hey remember my brother in law? Well he’s single again and I was asking my husband what about Sonja? I think you would be great for him.” I mentioned that he needed sometime…divorce is a messy and hard thing, and his is just barely finalized. A sweet Grandma that I know has been offering me her grandson for about 6 years. Usual conversation: “Now Sonja, I keep trying to get my grandson to meet you, but he is not wanting to. He isn’t doing anything but video games, and I keep telling him to cut his hair cause he looks like a fool. I think that you would be the best thing for him. Make him straighten out and fly right. I am just worried that he isn’t good enough for you. I really wish he would just cut his hair and get a real job.” Thank you so much for the offer…regrettably I think I better pass.

Another such helpful parent tried to get their son to date me. I tried to express my willingness to only be his friend, but to no avail. Between his parents and some friends and coworkers this Young Man they devised a perfect set up...I got tricked into a date. I was asked by another guy completely if I wanted to go with a bunch of people from work to see a movie. I said I wasn’t sure if I had time, but to call me the day of. Well I got a call from the “offered son” who gave me the details and I said yes I could come. Where I got suspicious was when he then insisted that he needed to pick me up… That date did not go well! I was mad ½ the time at the interferers, and mad at the offered son for not actually ever asking me out, but tricking me into a date.

One time I was dating someone rather seriously- and things started to fall apart. We broke up at his parent’s house, and before I could leave the whole family got involved. The mom came in crying on my shoulder telling me how much she loved me, and that her husband had gotten cold feet before too, but he soon realized that he had made a huge mistake, and came back and proposed. Then the Father pulled me aside, told me the same story, belittled his son’s thinking skills, told me that he got along better with me than his son, and reassured me it would work out. Then at the door step the two sisters (that had decided not to like me when I first met them) pulled me into a huge bear hug and told me they were sooooo sorry for everything they had said and done. They then told me how much they loved me, that their brother was in big trouble for letting me get away, and then they started crying their eyes out. That was more dramatic than anything else I have experienced outside of working in film and theatre. That was some real life soap opera material.

This week one mom commented on a facebook post about how she still had two single sons. And another mom found me on facebook, added me and then has informed me that her son thinks I am married, still talks about me all of the time, and wanted to know if I really was married. She then asked me to contact her son…who I haven’t seen since my first semester of college.  I'm not sure he will be thrilled to know she has contacted me :S

I have always said that the hardest part of breaking up with someone is saying goodbye to their family. I sometimes feel like Saundra Bullock in “While You Were Sleeping”…I have fallen in love with several families of the guys I have dated. But when things don’t work out I have to say goodbye not just to one person…but their family as well. But facebook is closing the gap…for good and bad. Now we can have facebook friendships with everyone…people that hated us in Jr. high, old boyfriends that didn’t work out, and their very helpful mothers, coworkers that now know more of our personal life than maybe we wished. The world has become infinitely smaller now that everyone is so connected.

This sounds like a bit of a rant…really it was more of an funny ironic observation. I guess I should be grateful that I am the kind of girl to take home to meet the family. Maybe I would have better luck with orphans…less pressure from their nearest and dearest ;) All roads might lead to Rome, but not all relationships lead to a happy marriage. I might be picky, but as the pioneers used to say “It is good to choose your ruts wisely, for you will be traveling in them for a long time…and it is hard to get out once you are in.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh yeah, remember how I have a blog?

A friend of mine almost went a year without posting something new on his Blog. Since he had at one time been a mighty blogger he felt this was something to fix...and wrote something with only hours to spare. I am afraid I have not been a mighty blogger...and haven't checked others that I follow for months at a time. Having some cute Nieces and now a Nephew has helped. But my blogging is still weak. Funny, since I love to write and I am always writing something in my journal.

Hmmm...maybe I need to sit down with Chelsea and look at all the fun things that you can do to liven up ones blog. Mine is rather boring!!! My youngest brother just joined the blogosphere and probably has more posts than I currently do. Most of the comments left on my blog are on how I need to update. So for those of you that are helping to push me into the world of being a real blogger here we go.

Lets see...what am I up to. Good place to start. I finished a movie not so long ago that really tried my patience and sanity. I am afraid that there were several times that my quick wit, my sarcasm and my tired self chose to not be as nice as I could have been. The director and I had several long brutal talks about things...When I couldn't help him understand the serious problems with continuity that I was trying to fix my tongue got the better of me. At one point he asked if all my sarcasm and jokes were helpful. I thought about that for 5 seconds and realized yes...Yes it helped. I was mad and upset and angry and tired and felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall. The sarcasm helped me from maiming him with the plethora of sharp sewing objects with in my grasp. It helped me to laugh, and kept me from completely loosing it. This said...I hate night shoots. Something about driving home as the sun rises makes life worse...especially on a super stressful show. But in retrospect I should have bit my tongue more and worked on my patience and kindness. (Though having one of the actresses write down word for word al of my funny pithy quips did feed my ego a bit.)

A long time friend of mine got to spend some long hours helping me on that show. I was a bit puzzled to later hear that this person that I had thought knew me so well viewed me as a very negative person. It seems that I am critical, and mean, and chose to see only the bad in all. Sigh. After 15 years of friendship, and being very open about everything with this friend (who I thought knew my heart of hearts) they let my true character boil down to 10 sleep deprived days as my defining true me. Granted there were a few other things that were discussed in this conversation about my negativity...but I was shocked to see that this was the defining moment for my friend.

My feelings were bruised, and I came home, and asked my roommates if this was true. I have always considered myself cheerful, optimistic, yet realistic, kind, helpful and the champion of the underdog. How many millions of battles have I waged for underdogs, how many teams have I cheered when it looked too hopeless to try, how many prayers for others had I prayed that they might be happy and have peace, how many times after a loooong day on set am I still kind and make life fun for the extras, and how oft do I sing random musicals to myself as I work? I have a few nick-names that seem pretty cheerful…Sunshine, Sonichka (Russian for Sunshine), Smiley, Sunny, Super Smile. Well my very blunt, “tell ya like it really is” roommates were also a bit puzzled that I had been labeled “negative.” Teasing they now call me "the negative one." Granted I do not believe in rose colored glass with which to change my perceptions of the world. I do however believe very much in the "Plan of Happiness," and hold to the thought that if you’re not happy you’re doing something wrong. Even through hard trials and worrisome times we can still have peace, and comfort, and yes even joy in our hearts and homes.

I’m off that show and on to another. There are the usual stresses, changes, mix-ups, and dramas in this show...but not nearly the crazy train the last one was. I am grateful to be working on a film with a real crew and real ADs. It is also fun to see a bunch of film friends I've missed, and make some new ones. I am always so intrigued about what the extras think about their 1st day on a movie set. This week has been full of adventure, and fun. Today my Uncle Mathew came and worked on the show, and two of my roommates (Natasha and Kara) came to visit and were soon roped into helping. WE needed extras and before they could escape we had them in wardrobe. They got to wear pioneer dresses in a rainstorm created by special effects. Afterwards one of the actors couldn't find his t-shirt and walked around shirtless looking for it. My roommates thought I was joking about how nothing surprises me anymore, and that I have seen it all. I do still appreciate modesty, but I hardly notice when an actor does something like that. I guess I am a bit desensitized.

Hmmmm…dating. Well there have been a few people of interest that have flicked in and out of my life lately. I know several people that think that I am being overly picky. Let it be known that I am not looking for perfection...but I am looking for someone who is working towards it like I am. I have found many good friends, some boyfriends, and have been close to engaged a few times in life, but things haven't really worked out for various reasons. Sometime it is just not right. Sometimes one person falls in love and the other doesn’t. Sometimes though you care very much for someone your find that you do not bring out their best self, and it is too hard to be unequally yoked. Not so long ago I had to tell more than one person that it was ok, that I knew I was a mover and a shaker, that I didn’t want to slide by in life, and that it was chaffing them to be in a serious relationship with me. I have things to do, people to see, battles to fight, people to care for, soapboxes to stand on, and I believe in fixing things…not many can keep up with me I guess, and I would eventually chaff at being held back. It is a good thing that I like me...and don't hate being by myself. I am a big fan of getting to truly know and love yourself. Honestly wherever you go you have to take yourself with you. I joke that until I find someone that makes me happier than I am now there is no use in getting married. I want to find someone that I am equally yoked with, that I love and loves me back. Really is that being too picky?

Much to my Grandfather's fretting I am ok with being an old maid right now. I am grateful for the many opportunities that I have been afforded in life. Of course I thought I would have been married a long time ago, and started that big old family I have always wanted. But that hasn't been an option really yet. I have had opportunities to serve a mission, finish college, work in a field that I love and have talents/skills in. I have been able to move, and meet lots of people, and travel. Some of those things will have to change when I do settle down, but I will be excited for those new adventures that will come with that oppertunity. I am not one to sit, wait, and vegg while hoping life will come to me. There is just too much to do :) Live without regrets, love life, and seek to learn and be better.

I am currently helping in the primary…kind of a helper and sub. I was officially called to be the ward “Primary fire-putter-outer.” I love it…getting to teach different classes, learn all the songs, and sometimes coming up with a lesson on the spot. Today I got to teach the 9-10 year olds. We were discussing Rehobaum and peer pressure. It was such a great lesson. There were a lot of kids and I worried that they might not pay attention as much as they should. But the Spirit was strong, and as we discussed receiving counsel, and how we should counsel with the Lord in all our doings they were very focused and attentive. I was reminded of a few other scripture stories where kings did or didn’t serve the people, or how if we don’t counsel with the Lord we find ourselves in serious trouble. There were a few things that really seemed to hit home, and it was interesting to me to see the different things that clicked in the kid’s minds. I talked a bit about Solomon and recapped last week’s lesson, and explained that all of us could seek to be wise in order to help and serve others. We talked a bit about spiritual gifts, and how IF we sincerely ask the Lord he can help us develop them. That class was so great. Later we acted out “getting the brass plates” for the rest of Primary. It was fun to direct something again :)
I am taking Improv Classes. I started to study Acting in College, and wanted to maybe go into Opera or Musical Theatre. UNLV sure wanted me in all 3 of those departments…but I moved to a very small Theatre Program in Idaho. I didn’t like how some classes were run, and bounced around till I found my nitch…Wardrobe and Hair and Make-up. I am afraid acting went on the back burner. Two years ago I worked on a film with a bunch of Comedy Sportz Improv guys. They laughed at my jokes…something that rarely happens…so few people could tell when I was joking. Then I went to one of their improv shows, and became a CSz Junkie. About 8 months later I signed up for their beginner’s classes. One of my friends had really been pressuring me to try it. He told me that a professor had told him that he was less of an Actor, and more of a Performer. That made sense to him. Honestly I was very nervous my 1st class, but soon I felt like a fish taking to water. I decided I am also more of a Performer. There is something wonderful about getting on stage without a single line or blocking and creating something new, fun, and sometimes terrible. Fail big…and you still will make the audience laugh. They care the most when you truly invest in it…even if it is a flop. This class has helped me to think faster on my feet, use more of my creative brain, and more people can get my humor…though I am still often the only one laughing at my jokes…unless there is an Engineer around. (They enjoy a good bad pun and some sarcasm.) I still say that one of my secret super hero powers is that I can always find an Engineer in the crowd. My other power would be static electricity…it finds me, and others are shocked ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where my art is at?

I thought I was a child art prodigy. I thought I could sell my amazing art to the neighbors. I think that I also told them that someday I would be rich and famous and that water color would be worth millions. A few of them were kind enough to buy them for a quarter. I heard that if you sold your work you were a professional. I think I told people I was a professional artist for awhile after that.

      I have been missing my art lately. I majored in it for awhile in College...3 credits shy on graduation day. I sometimes walk down my stairs seeing all the art I made a long time ago and wish I still had 6 hours a week dedicated just to art. I am a doodler...but lately I have given that up as well.

Today I worked on an art project with a few little girls and thought I needed to carry around paper and a pencil and just find time to draw. Wednesday I walked through a art store with a friend and we looked at the faces and pieces hanging on the wall. I had much to say about some of them, and again the itch to pick up a paintbrush was present. Hmmm...maybe I need to make more time to work with another medium than fabric. I sometimes get tired of Sewing, and feel my creative outlet is more of a chore. Perhaps I should spice things up and make a goal to work so many hours a week on something other than cloth. Not that I am looking to become a famous artist that I once thought I would grow up to become, but because I love it so. I love to get lost in the creative brain making something that is new and interesting to me.

I think I better steer clear of some of the themes I chose in College. Not that there are any pieces I would fear to show, just at times I tried to be like unto the other Artsy people in my classes and try to use symbolism of things in my life. I am bemused at some of the Lithos I chose to create...and in mass. Funny how a broken heart or two can be a sappy reminder of long ago. The other day I told one of those college heartaches that he had been a theme in my art. Of course he was curious. I told him that maybe someday I would show him some of those pieces. I know that most people would never look past the ink to what I was saying...but I think he would. I don't know if I am ready to laugh at myself enough to let him see them. When I look at them even by myself I shake my head and roll my eyes at the girl I had been...trying to embrace the artsy frame of mind and make deep and tragic/meaningful (at least to me) art that others couldn't get. I also think I would be better at figuring out the composition now. Some of my college work is flat and unexciting. I really should get back into it…maybe make more things that are just for fun :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Blessings of Service.

I have been terrible about making it to church on time since we switched buildings. I need to be better about that. This morning I was writing in my journal and lost track of time. My clock suddenly said I had 15 min to get to church. My first thought was I could just go to another ward, who would really miss me that much. My next one was very uncharacteristic…what if I just didn’t go today. I almost laughed at that thought and jumped up and zoomed around the house getting ready! I found something to eat, and had a feeling to take some blank paper, and an old Journal that I used to take notes in at church. I had been meaning to put that journal in my church bag for awhile, and didn’t really know where it was. But I found it on the shelf above my bed, and shoved it in with everything else. I am a journal writer…I have about 30 something of them. I have been writing notes, thoughts and impressions and personal revelation down on little scraps of paper/ward bulletins for the past year. I thought it funny that on the Sunday I had 15 min to get ready I had to stop and pick up that journal. But I did, and ran out the door. I got to church just in time to hear the opening prayer in the foyer, then I grabbed a program and a hug from the cute greeters and sat down next to a random family in the ward. I don’t have a set pew, or normal place to sit since the new building…so I joke that I am getting a chance to bless and meet new people each week as I randomly sit with people. This week was the family of one of the Bishopric members. She looked at me a bit funny, I didn’t know why…probably cause I was late, maybe cause I hadn’t ever sat with them before.

I listened as the new Members were read into the ward, releases and sustaining taken care of, and a baby blessing. Just as we are opening up our Hymnals for the Sacrament Hymn I thought to myself how odd it is that there is only one speaker sitting on the stand. Then Suddenly I have this memory flood back of a phone call I got this week (when I was busy at work) asking me if I had ever had the opportunity to speak in church. I silently prayed that it was for next week as I hurriedly opened my program. There in black and white was my name, and I was the first speaker. I looked over at this sister I was sitting by and said whoops I forgot I was speaking today…now understanding the odd look she had given me earlier. With shaking hands I reached down and grabbed my scriptures, a pen, my little hymn book, and that journal. My topic was the Blessings of Service. I wrote about 10 words on the program, opened the journal and quickly scanned the pages. I found some notes I had taken from a Relief Society General Conference Oct 2008. Sister Julie B. Beck had given us council on the 3 fold mission of the church. I underlined some of my notes, and opened my scriptures to where I had been reading this week in Alma. Alma 17 was about the sons of Mosiah and Alma meeting up together and rejoicing that they were still men of God. Then it talks of Ammon and his service to the Laminites. The sacrament song ended and I closed my books and turned my thoughts to the sacrament. I said a big prayer and apologized for forgetting, and being a bit of a slacker. I begged God to help me to speak, and know the things that I should say, even though I didn’t have time to prepare as I should have. I was still shaking, and very nervous as we partook of the sacrament. And then as the conductor stood to announce the program I tried to smile my bravest, most encouraging smile. He looked over at me as he said we would be honored to first hear from…and he paused hoping/praying that I really would be speaking. I nodded my head and with relief in his eyes he said my name, and then the rest of the lineup.

I walked up to the podium and I put down my hymnal, my journal and my scriptures and tried to joke about how it was never good to be late to church, but esp. when you were supposed to be sitting on the stand. No one laughed, or even smiled. Deep breath, another quick prayer and I opened my mouth unsure of what I was going to say. I started with Sister Becks talk. As I read from it I had stories and ideas and thoughts come flooding into my mind. There were some that were nice, but others that pressed upon me, and it was clear which were right to share.

I talked of my parents and their desire to serve a mission. I told of my mom wanting to serve a mission and the Bishop not thinking that this was a place for girls. He didn’t want her to serve. So she worried about what to do. She wanted to serve. A bit later a new Bishop was called and in an interview asked if she had ever thought about going on a mission. They quickly were able to get her ready to go and serve the Lord and His Children. I told how my folks often shared mission stories with us as we grew up. They looked for opportunities to teach and help us understand the Gospel on a daily basis.

I talked of my mission, and getting to serve. It was interesting the things that I mentioned in my talk…how I was wanting to go to Africa, or some untamed place. I was big and strong, and not afraid to eat bugs, and willing to work hard. Yet the Lord called me to Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I was sad, but soon came to realize that this was the most perfect place for me to serve. I got to serve the nations of the World in my native tongue…which was good because I’m not good with languages. I told them of how my mission President tried to impress upon us that our mission was a MTC for the rest of our lives. It was a Missionary Training Center for us to draw strength from as we went on to serve in the Church, our communities, our neighbors and perfect strangers for the rest of our lives.

I talked of not knowing many people when I first moved into the Home ward. I had a sure fire way of meeting people and becoming involved in a ward. You introduce yourself to the Bishop and the Relief Society President and tell them you are new, and that you need a calling. You are able to meet many people and feel at home as you have opportunities to serve others. I mentioned how I had no one really to sit by in sacrament meeting when I first started going to this ward. I felt a bit lost and alone. I prayed that I would have an opportunity to serve some little family with wiggly kids that could use another adult to sit with them. That Sunday the Moranos move into the ward. Every one kinda chuckled. I explained that this was perfect. Here was a new family that didn’t know anyone, with three Autistic boys that needed a little bit of help. Later Sister Morano told me that she had prayed that someone would be able to come and help with the boys who had a hard time being quiet. I said that I knew that the Lord worked in mysterious ways, but he listens and answers our prayers.

I talked of my mother helping a little old lady in the grocery store who couldn’t pay for her groceries and the clerk was being rude…mom said she would pay the difference. The woman was flustered and apologetic and didn’t want to take it, and my mother said something that I have always remembered. She said “You would do the same for me.” The older woman looked at my mom with tears in her eyes and thanked her and said she was right she would have done the same for her. My mom saved the day, served another, and put her heart at ease.

I talked of my opportunity to serve in the Singles ward, and how I was very adamant about leaving once I turned 31…not wanting to be the old lady hanging out with the 18 year olds forever. But I had a blessing that said that just because I had a birthday didn’t mean I got to be released from my calling. I talked of getting back in and serving hard, and learning to let others serve me.

I talked about Ammon and how his story was one of my favorites when I was young because he cut off all the arms and was good with a slingshot. But as I have grown older I have new things that I love about Ammon. I love that he went into a dangerous place to serve, and that he was optimistic and cheerful. When all the servants of the king were afraid and tearful, Ammon went to the rescue. He saw this as an optimistic opportunity to serve these people and bless them with his service. I bore my testimony and I Challenged the members to look for opportunities to serve. That if they would pray for opportunities that they would be able to see the many things that they could do for all those around us. That they would be able to find blessings, realize that our own trials aren’t as bad, and be able to let others return that service when we were in times of need.

I ended my talk and we sang a rest hymn, and then the next speaker got up to speak, and his talk was wonderful, and fit so well with my talk. The Spirit was so strong, and that is the quietest I have ever heard our ward. Even the children were listening and sitting still. No one was sleeping, and many people shook their heads in agreement to the things we talked of. I was so grateful that I had been blessed to know what to say. I have never relied more on the Spirit to direct my talk than I did today. Not that I am going to ever, ever, ever do this again. But I was able to feel so strongly of the things that needed to be said, and when to bear my testimony on things.

All though the rest of Church I had ward members stop, shake my hand and thank me for that talk. Several mentioned that they were struggling with something and that they had prayed to be able to know what they needed to do, and I was able to say just what they needed. I know that it was not all me, and am so grateful for the blessings of the Holy Ghost.  I am glad for the opportunity I have had to speak in front of others, and grateful I can think quick on my feet, and that my Improv skills kicked in. But I know that it was because I prayed and asked for help, and for a miracle. That is the real reason I was able to know what to say for 28 min. When you only have 2 speakers you get a lot of time on your talk. In fact, we went a bit over today in sacrament meeting…and everyone was ever so reverent- and weren’t impatiently looking at the clock. They were looking steadfast to us, and the things that we believed. What a powerful and beautiful opportunity…in contrast to how terrible it could/should have been. I am grateful for the Gospel, and I Know that God Lives and loves us. I know that we have been given much, and we need to serve, and pray and labor to help others come find the happiness and joy of the message of the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for a Savoir, Jesus Christ who has Atoned for the sins of all mankind. I am grateful to know that not only my sins can be washed away by his sacrifice, but that my broken hearts can be bound up, and healed, and that I can find forgiveness, love and hope. I have come to understand more about the Atonement, and Christ’s deep love for us as I have seen the sorrows and worries and heartaches and burdens lifted off my shoulders, and the shoulders of those around me. I am glad that when I am broken that I can be made whole. In a fireside talk a few months ago the word perfect was discussed.  In Hebrew “Perfect” means whole hearted.  This made so much sense to me! I desire to always have my heart made whole so that I can take care of not only myself, but others. I am very grateful for service given and received.