Tuesday, November 26, 2013


is a weird thing. Sometimes, the days go by too fast. And other times they go by too slowly. I think it all just depends on how you use your time. The days where I just sit around waiting for it to be time for bed, I get so bored, and think that the day will never end. The days where I am talking to my family, or reading articles and blogs, and preparing for my mission, the time goes by so much faster.

Being in Ukraine has been a wonderful experience, and I have learned so much about myself. Sometimes it's nice to get away from the monotony of every day life, and take a little adventure. It's a good way to step back, and get away from things that you thought were right, and then didn't go the way you had planned. It's nice to be able to really rely on the Lord, and trust that he knows what is best for you.

Although I came to Ukraine to teach English, I also came to help find myself (as an individual). I think that has really helped me. When I was first considering a mission, I was so afraid that I was wanting to go for all the wrong reasons. That being 21, with no potential spouse on the horizon was the reason I was going to go, because what else is there for me? Well, that is the complete wrong line of thinking, and once I realized that, I realized why I really want to serve a mission. Being almost 21, and not married is helpful, as it qualifies me to serve a mission (it would be hard to serve a mission right now if I was married), but it is not the reason.

Another thing I thought about while I was deciding whether or not to serve a mission, was that it would be a good way to find myself. I would be away from family and friends, there would be no boys to complicate my life, and I would be able to really focus on me. Well, a mission is not a good place to focus on me. While serving a mission you should focus on the Lord, and serving him. You should focus on the people you are teaching, and how you can bring others to Christ. A mission is not about you.

It took me a while, but once I realized how important it is to not focus on yourself, I realized why I really want to serve a mission, to share the joy the gospel brings me with those around me. I know I can do that on a regular basis, but I want to do that everyday as a representative of Jesus Christ. As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don't want to go on a mission to find myself, rather I want to go on a mission to lose myself in the work.

Now back to the matter of time. My time in Ukraine is coming to a close. I will be home in 3 weeks, and I don't even know how I feel about that. I am so excited to get home, and get my papers finished and submitted. I am excited to get my call. I am excited to get out there and serve. But, all at the same time, I am incredibly nervous. I keep thinking of all of the things that could go wrong, or all of the things that I am going to miss. And what if I'm not really ready? It's all a lot to take in. I mean, I have been thinking off and on about a mission since I got my Patriarchal Blessing when I was 14, but I never actually took the time to really prepare for it like I should have. And now I only have three weeks until I can submit my papers (maybe a little bit longer depending on how all of the appointments go), and I feel so unprepared.

And that just brings me back to the idea that maybe I should push my availability date back a little bit more. When I was skyping with my family on Sunday, my little brother said, "You know how you were talking about going on a mission? Well, you better not leave before my birthday!" My heart hurt a little bit when he said that. He is getting so big, and though I have missed a lot of my siblings's birthdays over the years, this is a special one. He will be turning eight and will be getting baptized, and depending on when I report to the MTC, I will more than likely miss it. There are so many things that I will miss, which was one of my biggest concerns when I thought about serving a mission a year ago.

But that is the thing. Regardless, I am going to miss so much, and delaying serving the Lord is not going to help that. Because than I will continue to miss things. That is what happens when you grow up, sometimes you have to sacrifice a lot of good things, for better things. So, as much as my heart hurts when I think about all the things that I will miss, I am so excited for all the things that a mission will bring. The people I will meet, and grow to love. Those that I will teach, and serve. The letters that I will get, and the letters that I will be able to send with lots of spiritual experiences, and so many more things.  (Obviously letters are not the most important thing, but I sure do love getting letters and hearing from my family!)

So moral of the story, time is a weird thing, but I know that if I do things and focus on God's timing rather than my own, things will work out the way they are supposed to. I just have to put my trust in him. After all, his timing is pretty great.

Sister Robertson

Monday, November 18, 2013

an attitude

of gratitude. :)

Since it is November, I have decided to write down a small fraction of the things I am grateful for. At one point in my life I had a Thankful Journal, and I would try to write something I was thankful for everyday. And every day I was able to come up with something different. Well, at some point, life got in the way, and the days of gratitude slowly went away. I still carry that journal around with me though, and when I get the chance, or when I am feeling especially low, I try to think of the things that I am grateful for. 

President Eyring spoke of this concept. Another thing that he mentioned was to have a gratitude prayer. One where you only express gratitude for the things you are blessed with in your life. 

"You could have an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost today. You could begin a private prayer with thanks. You could start to count your blessings, and then pause for a moment. If you exercise faith, and with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you will find that memories of other blessings will flood into your mind. If you begin to express gratitude for each of them, your prayer may take a little longer than usual. Remembrance will come. And so will gratitude." - President Eyring

When you start to count your many blessings, it is amazing just how much your attitude changes, and you begin to recognize all the good in your life,  rather than all of the bad. There is a song that we sing in church often, but especially in November called "Count Your Blessings." It is one of my favorites, and because I love you all so much, I will even copy and paste all of the verses. ;)

Count Your Blessings
1. When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
  1. When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
  2. (Chorus)
    Count your blessings;
    Name them one by one.
    Count your blessings;
    See what God hath done.
    Count your blessings;
    Name them one by one.
    Count your many blessings;
    See what God hath done.
  3. 2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly,
    And you will be singing as the days go by.
  4. 3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
    Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
    Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
  5. 4. So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
    Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.
Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922
Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921

Okay, now that you know what song I am talking about, let me tell you why I love this song so much. 
Right at the very beginning, it talks about how it will surprise you what the Lord has done. I mean, that is SO true. It is not until you begin to count your blessings, and realize how much you are grateful for, that you truly recognize just how much your Father in Heaven loves you! Isn't that such a wonderful thing? 

In the second verse it begins to talk about the hard times, when you are struggling the most. As you begin to focus on those blessings, "ev'ry doubt will fly." I know that to be true. It is hard for the adversary to be present, when you are so focused on the good things. 

In church on Sunday, two of the talks were focused on the topic of Gratitude. One of the speakers used an analogy to help illustrate a very important point. Imagine a young spoiled child who never says thank you for anything. The more and more time goes on with out that simple thank you, the less likely you are going to willingly give them more. It doesn't feel good to others when we are selfish, and ungrateful. It also makes them less willing to give. The same concept goes for our Father in Heaven. When we express gratitude for the things we have, Heavenly Father wants to bless us even more. :) So, what more reason do you need to be grateful? When you are grateful (but not prideful), God blesses you even more. :) Of course it helps when you are keeping the commandments too. 

"Gracias, danke, merci—whatever language is spoken, “thank you” frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway as you journey toward perfection. There is a simplicity—even a sincerity—when “thank you” is spoken." - President Monson

So there you have it. Being grateful is one of the best ways to bring you joy. Everything we have is a blessing from our Heavenly Father. :)

And now for the small fraction of all of my many blessings. :)

  1. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission. The more and more I think about it, the more and more excited and happy I get. :)
  2. I am grateful for my family. This one thing could be broken up quite a bit, but I truly am grateful for them. Sometimes it takes moving across the ocean to realize just how grateful you are for your family. 
  3. I am grateful that my parents were married and sealed in the Temple, and that because of that, I can be with my family forever. :)
  4. I am grateful for my trials. Although at the time they may seem like the end of the world, I always come out stronger because of it. 
  5. I am grateful for my legs, and the blessing that it is to be able to walk. It wasn't until my sister loss use of her legs in March that I realized just how grateful I am for my legs that work perfectly. Sure there are days that my knees may hurt, or walking one more step seems like it is just too much, but I can walk. I can walk miles and miles and I am grateful for that. 
  6. I am grateful for my hearing. While I was at BYU-Hawaii, I took an ASL class one semester. While I took that class, I was blessed with the opportunity to communicate with those who were hard of hearing or deaf. It was through those experiences that I realized just how much I love being able to hear. I can hear beautiful music, the sounds of nature, others voices, and so many other things. How grateful I am for that.
  7. I am grateful for music. Especially good, clean, uplifting music. Music has always been one of the ways where I can feel and recognize the spirit. I remember one day while I was at school, I was listening to some music while I was studying. The playlist that I had on was one with some classical music, as well as some hymns played on the piano. I hadn't really been paying attention to the music and what songs were playing. I was struggling with something, and then "I Need Thee Every Hour" came on. I remember the sweet spirit that I felt while I took a second to relax and enjoy the beautiful melody. 
  8. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had in my life to travel all over the world. I have been blessed with the opportunity to live in 2 different countries, travel all over numerous others. I have also been blessed to see (whether by living or visiting) a large majority of the States in the USA. :) And I love that! I love that I have been able to experience so many different cultures, and I can't wait to experience even more. 
  9. I am grateful for children, and the sweet spirits that they have. :) I love to teach, and to spend time with little children. I love how sweet, kind, and gentle they are. I love to hear their stories. I love to see them get excited over such simple things as tearing a piece of paper. I love to watch them learn and grow, and I am grateful that I get to do that everyday here in Ukraine. 
  10. I am grateful for technology. It is such a blessing to be able to talk to people from the other side of the world. Because of technology, I am able to talk to my family every Sunday. Once a week I am able to hear from and talk to my friends on missions in various parts of the world. I am able to read about things like the Typhoon in the Philippines. I am also able to receive emails from friends and their families saying that they are safe. I can't even express how grateful I am for that. 
I could go on for days and days about all the things that I am grateful for, but one of the things I am most grateful for, is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for his willingness to sacrifice his life for me and my sins, so that I may return to live with him and my Father in Heaven again someday. I am grateful for the healing powers of the atonement, and the blessing that it is to be able to partake of the Sacrament each and every Sunday, so that I may made clean again. What better blessing is there than that? 

Sister Robertson 

Just because these are all too good not to share, here are a number of different articles and talks from the Prophets and Apostles on Gratitude. 

Remembrance and Gratitude - President Henry B. Eyring
O Remember, Remember - President Henry B. Eyring
Think to Thank - President Thomas S. Monson
An Attitude of Gratitude - President Thomas S. Monson

Friday, November 15, 2013

could this waiting part go any slower?

That my friends is sarcasm! I am loving Ukraine, and I will really miss it once I am gone, but waiting another month to be able to finish my papers is pure torture. Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but I hope you get the point. Now that I have decided what I am doing with my life, I just want to get going and be done with the waiting part. 

I am so excited to serve a mission, and with every day that has gone by since that decision, I feel even more confident that this is the right path for me and my life right now. I am ready to get out there and serve the Lord. I know that I have a whole lot of preparing that I need to do before that, but that doesn't change how much I want to serve. 

I guess one of my biggest concerns is that the longer and longer it is until I can finish my papers, the more and more likely it is that I will over think things. Like maybe I'll realize that there really is somewhere I wouldn't want to go, or somewhere that I would want to go (and would be so upset if I didn't get sent there). Don't worry though. Right now that is not the case, and I am doing my best to have that never be the case. I know that I will be called to where ever the Lord knows I am needed. After all, I am serving a mission to serve him, not myself. And that is the greatest blessing of all.

I've been trying to come up with a list of the reasons that I want to serve a mission. I don't know that this will be in any particular order, rather it is just a conglomeration of my thoughts thrown into written words. 

1. I want to share the joy that the gospel brings me with everyone around me. Every time that I have ever been truly happy, it has been because of the gospel. There are so many wonderful truths in it that help to bring me so much joy. Often that joy is accompanied by peace and love. Which brings me to my next point. 

2. I want others to know that through the infinite reach of the atonement, you can be healed. I know that through personal experience. There is nothing like the pure love of Christ that you feel once you truly applied his atonement to your life. Any pain or heartache you have felt, whether it be because of your own actions or someone else's, he can heal you. The atonement is real. Through it we can be forgiven, and we can be made clean. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, and I want to share that love with those around me.  

"I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,”3 and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price”4 at the table of the Lord." (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, "The Laborers in the Vineyard")
3. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the Earth today. I know that it is Christ's church, and I want to share that knowledge with those who may be seeking it. I know that there is someone out there that needs to hear my message. That needs me to help share the gospel with them. I don't want to keep that knowledge to myself. The older and older I get, the more that I realize just how important the gospel is to me, and how much I want others to have the gospel in their lives. 
4. I know that families can be together forever. That knowledge is one of the greatest blessings that I could ever think of. I remember the first funeral that I ever attended was for a sweet baby boy in our ward who passed away at the young age of 3 months. I remember just how sad that was to see such a little precious human being, be taken from his family so soon. One thing that I remember the most though, is the comfort in knowing that because he had been sealed to his family, they would get to see him again. It was not the end. 
When my little brother was a week old, he got really sick, and for a long time, they didn't know what was wrong. They didn't know if he was going to make it. He is the youngest of six children, and the only boy. When he was born we were all so glad for that sweet little brother that we got. Before the doctors were able to diagnose what was wrong, I was brought comfort when I thought about how sick he was. I knew that no matter what, everything was going to be okay - even if he was called back home to be with our loving Heavenly Father. I knew everything would be okay, because I would get to be with him again. Luckily, he was able to get better and is still a part of our lives almost 8 years later. I am still ever so grateful for the testimony of Eternal Families, that has continued to be strengthened over the years. 
5. This one is a little bit of a selfish reason, but I feel like it is still a good one. I want to serve a mission so that I may better myself, and grow stronger in the gospel. I want to be the best wife and mother that I can be, and I know that serving a mission will help me to do that. I want to be married in the temple, and to raise my children in the church. I keep telling myself that one day I will be better, but I want to be better now, and a through serving others and sharing the gospel with them, I hope to become a better person. 
6. I want to make my Father in Heaven proud, and I want to follow his plan for me. I want to be better at following promptings, and I want to be closer to the spirit. I want to be the best missionary that I can and serve his children, where ever he sends me. I want to see others as he sees them, as sons or daughters of a loving Father in Heaven. I want others to know and to feel of his love for them. 
I'm sure if I sat here, I could come up with lots and lots of reasons, but the biggest reason, is because I know it is the right thing. I know that I need to serve a mission. I know that I need to share my testimony with those around me. I need to share the light of Christ with everyone that I meet, and that is why I am serving a mission. I know that there may be times when I am afraid to talk to someone, or afraid that I may not know the answer to a difficult question, but I know that through the help of my Savior, I can do all things. 
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)
So there you have it. Now you know why I want to serve a mission, why I want to leave my friends and my family for 18 months and serve the Lord. Call my crazy, but I am pretty excited.
Sister Robertson
#called to serve

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

sometimes you need to put your trust in the Lord

Okay, that's a lie. You always need to put your trust in the Lord. I can be a bit stubborn sometimes (not when it comes to things in my everyday life, but more so when it comes to listening to promptings).

For the longest time I can remember the thought of serving a mission. I always told myself "no, I don't want to" or "no I don't know enough." Basically lots and lots of thoughts like those filled my mind anytime I thought about it. At one point, I remember telling myself that maybe once I was 21, I would think about it. If I had no potential spouse in the picture, and I had nothing else really going on, then I would really think about it. 

When the age changed in October 2012, I remember praying about it, and I knew that it would be great. The problem was, I just didn't really have the desire to go. Really I just wanted to get married, and was hoping that would be a possibility. So, once again I ignored the promptings that I was getting. 

I mean, I remember saying before General Conference to one of my friends that I didn't think I was going to serve a mission. I was hoping to be married by the time that I could serve, so I just didn't see it as a possibility. I even remember one specific thing that I said, "maybe if I could go now I would. That won't ever happen though." I am really grateful that Heavenly Father is SO patient with me. I mean there I was, just a few days before what I thought was seemingly impossible happened. Then the age changed, and what did I do? Get in the way of the promptings that I was receiving. I would think about it, and then I would psych myself out, and push the thoughts away.

There were so many things in my life that were being put into place, yet I still ignored the promptings. I continued to grow, both as an individual, and in the gospel. I graduated from BYU-H with my Associates, and then I went home, all the while ignoring the possibility of a mission. 

When I got home, things went less then according to my plans. I didn't want to go back to school. Marriage was out of the question. I didn't know what to do. For a long time I just did nothing (well, I mean, I had a job - I just wasn't getting anywhere with what to do next). All the while, Heavenly Father was ever so patient with me, letting me try (and fail) to figure things out. I had thought about moving somewhere new, volunteering in an orphanage, teaching English abroad, but not about a mission (I had already decided that I didn't want to. I mean 18 months seemed like such a long time, and I wasn't good enough.)

I ended up applying to teach English with ILP on a whim, and got accepted. I felt really good about it, and I still do. That is how I ended up in Ukraine. This has been a wonderful experience, and it has allowed me to really grow, and figure out what Heavenly Father has in store for me. 

Over the last couple of weeks (probably more like months) I have been praying about what to do next with my life. Should I go back to school and get my Bachelors? Should I get a real job (teach Preschool)? Should I pick up and move somewhere else? What on earth am I going to do when I get home in December? One day I remember the thought of a mission coming back. I started to really think about it, and even pray about it. I began reading different articles and talks from the General Authorities about missions. I read blogs of other girls on missions, and those still preparing to go. I even went so far as to tell my dad and my sister that I had been thinking about a mission. 

Well, on Sunday I was skyping my family (like we do every Sunday), and I began talking about it to both my mom and my dad. What about money? When would I want to leave? What about Liam's baptism in April? And Sariah's graduation in May? I came up with a billion questions and concerns, but at one point, it was no longer a what if I go on a mission. The "what-if" became the "when" and "how" can I make this work?

I have had so many of my best friends leave and go on missions. I couldn't even count on my hands how many friends I have that are out Serving the Lord in all different areas of the World. I have watched them grow and have heard so many wonderful experiences. I have even had friends who have come home. The 18 months that I once thought was so long, was no longer an issue. I began to realize just how much my Heavenly Father loves me, and how patient he is with me. I decided to put my trust fully in him, and emailed my bishop about my decision to go. (Okay, maybe I used the excuse of not having his email to put it off even more, but my dad quickly remedied the situation, and within a few minutes, the email was sent). 

As soon as I got the email from my bishop saying I could start my papers, I was GLOWING! My dad said he wished that he had screen shotted my reaction. Here I was, in Ukraine, at midnight, starting my mission papers. Eventually I went to bed, and then the next day after I got done teaching, I came home and finished everything that I could from here. And let me tell you how beyond exciting that is!

Now I have to be patient and wait until December 16, when I get home to finish my papers. All I have left is the doctor and dental appointments, and then my interviews with both my bishop and my stake president, and then I am done!

When I was trying to figure out what to put as my availability date, my dad told me to put January 1st. I was so surprised! I was like, "But DAD! I won't be ready by then! How am I supposed to come up with all the money? That is SO soon!" But, he sat there completely serious and told me that I pay what I can, and they will pay the rest. Here I am, in Ukraine, and my dad is telling me the solution to all of my biggest worries. I can not explain the wonderful comfort that it was for everything to fall into place so seamlessly. 

Thinking back on the last year, when I could have already been on my mission, I know that I was instead blessed with the opportunity to grow even more, and to really know when the time came that serving a mission is the right thing for me in my life right now. So many things have happened that I know were necessary for me to sit back and let Heavenly Father guide me in the right decision. I am so grateful for his never ending patience with me and my stubborn self. I am grateful for the love that he shows me, even when I sometimes refuse to accept it. 

I am so ready to serve a mission. To go to a place, and serve the people there. I am ready to share the happiness that the gospel brings me in my life. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the Earth today. I know that through Christ's atoning sacrifice, we may all be saved. I am grateful for the healing powers of the atonement, and the peace and comfort they have brought me in my life. I am so grateful for the knowledge that families can be together forever. I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Thomas Monson is our true and living prophet on the Earth today. I know that the apostles and prophets are called of God, and their teachings are truly inspired. 

I am so ready to submit my papers, and find out where I am Called to Serve. I know that wherever I go, is where I am needed the most, and because of that I don't have anywhere that I wouldn't want to go. I really am okay with going anywhere, and I am grateful for that. 

Sister Robertson
(When I went to start working on my papers, it said "Sister Robertson" and it made me SO excited!)

Ps. I think that it is only fitting that I am about to turn 21, I am not getting married anytime soon, and there is nothing else in the way of my serving a mission. Heavenly Father sure does have a sense of humor sometimes.