Subject: Re: Snow Snow everywhere!!
To: "Penny Paxman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, November 12, 2012, 1:22 PM
Hey Mom and everybody!
I had a great Birthday! I loved my new clothes and all of the other goodies I received. THANK YOU EVERYBODY! I really could not ask for a greater support system. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Also, Mom, if it is not to much trouble could you ask the Bishop to give the ward a very special thank you to all those in the ward that gave cards, money, and such things during the time of my farewell. Now that it's Thanksgiving time I feel exceptionally ungrateful for not ever sending out thank you cards to everybody like you told me to. Also, if anybody has time, will they please post on my Facebook a thank you from me. Because wow, I received a lot of love on my birthday, as well as those last few days before entering the MTC. It would mean a lot if somebody could do that. Also, If Tiara Sims is reading this, I wanna give her a lil shout out for the e-mail she sent last week. It was great hearing from you...I am not allowed to respond to anybody outside of the family by e-mail, so I can't respond unless you send me an address. I am trying my best to be an obedient Sister. Haha, but it's really tough sometimes when I get e-mails from friends and can't respond to them because I can't re-e-mail them and I have no address to write to. So please please, if you have time, WRITE ME! Because, Basically...I love you and don't want you to feel like I'm not responding to your e-mails.
But okie dokie, you asked me what I want/need for Christmas and since you are so amazing I guess I will share my Christmas list with you,
1. Pictures! anybody and everybody send me pictures!!! The ones that I have received thus far are hanging above my bed and greet me every morning when I get up. I try my best not to think about all of you and home while we're working, but it is really nice to come home after a long day of missionary-ness and see your smiling faces before bed time. *Don't think that these have to be family portraits or anything, haha the more random and hilarious the better**
2. We have been doing a lot of tracting lately and they have told us to not let our bags get too bulky because bulky=stuff and stuff=people wanting to steal your stuff. So I have been thinking that my scriptures are to big and that I should down-size to the compact quad. I know they are expensive...but I really would love to be less of a target. Haha if you get what I'm sayin. They don't need to be fancy. They just need to be small.
3. I need tights. I have 3 pairs right now. But just in case. (black and grey are the colors that I have now. those are the colors I like).
4. There are some wool socks for about 12 bucks at R.E.I that I should have bought before coming. They are just R.E.I brand..nothing sophisticated I just know that they are really warm and my tootsie's have been gettin cold while tracting so some of these would be nice. Also they don't have to be R.E.I lol they just need to be warm. I have lots of extra space in my boots so don't be afraid to get something fatty and thick. I like em chunky ;)
5. This might sound silly, buuuuut...testimonies. I would love to have your testimonies in writing. Because I know someday my heart is going to be hurting from the lack of immediate success in our area and I'm gunna need your warm,heart felt words to pick me back up and get me re-motivated for the next day. So please, anybody who feels comfortable sharing their testimony with me, I would love to have those. Also those of you who are not religious, it's ok not to send your testimony about anything church related. You can write about what you believe in...you life motto..anything. Your words and examples are what got me out on this mission, your words and examples are what I am made of...so please send me some more building material :)
6. Oh! And some little neon tabs would be very helpful. I need them to mark my scriptures and the Gallup Wal-mart is always out of them!
I can't think of anything else...but if I do I will let you know. Thank you for caring about me.
It truly is amazing how life goes. One minute we are making a plan or setting a goal and the next minute we are living said goal. That's how I feel about this mission. It feels like only yesterday that I was to turn 21 and start working on my papers. And now I'm here, 22 years old on the mission that I have prepared my whole life to serve. It's still hard to believe that I'm here. But as the days go by, I begin to forget more and more about life before my mission. I could barely remember what my personal cell phone looked like the other day, somebody mentioned Facebook during a dinner appointment and I really had to think "what's Facebook?", and slowly but surely the song lyrics and movie quotes that I could so easily recite are slipping away from me. It's nuts! Somedays I really wonder who on earth will I be after these 18 months? And honestly I have NO idea..I couldn't even begin to guess. All I know is that I will be better than when I left...I have already changed so much. I never thought that I could be broken down and rebuilt so much in just 2 months-ish time.
So back to the first idea of setting goals and then living them. I have discovered most intensely on my mission, more so than any other adventure, that when we think a thought, set a goal and decide to act on them we are making the decision to change. We are deciding to improve ourselves and evolve. And though we make this decision, that we want to challenge ourselves and become better, we sometimes or most times, for some of us, get discouraged when we don't see instant results. We may start to think that we are not capable of changing...But I can promise you that this is not true.
As children we believed that we could do anything, that we could be anything and that we could touch the sky. When did this mentality die in us? When did we decide that we were not meant for greatness? When did we come to the conclusion that our dreams must be limited to our current situation and that we can never be the person that we dreamed of being as children?
Was it life that beat us down? Was it the fear of trying that crippled us? Was it a person that said " You don't have what it takes?" What was it?
Well, whatever it was or is, I want you to do me a favor...GET RID OF THEM.
Delete those thoughts, get over those fears at whatever cost and start dreaming big. And know more than anything else, that YOU CAN CHANGE.
I know from experience that change is possible for every man, woman and child. I know that hope, determination, persistence and faith are the ingredients for success in all things. I know that we all have the potential for greatness...and you may wonder, "How does this 22 year old know that everybody has this potential?" To that question I reply by saying, "I know these things because I have a testimony that we are all sons and daughters of the divine. Even God the creator of all things in both heaven and earth."
I may be 22 years old, with little to no real life experience in comparison to some, BUT as I live and breathe I know 100% without any doubt that every person living on this earth is a son or daughter of God. And I know that because of that divine heritage we are capable of so much.
So if you are 40 years old and want a black belt in Karate...do it! If you are 67 and want to go back to college...go for it! If you are struggling with an addiction or find yourself stuck in an abusive relationship...change that! Or maybe you are just stuck in a rut and don't know what to do...whatever your situation, I can promise that if you get down on your knees and plead with the Lord with full sincerity of heart with a willingness to act on His command, He will not only hear you, but He will deliver you out of your pain, fear, distress...whatever you are feeling. He will help you meet your goals and He will help you change.
I have a testimony of this. I do believe that all people can change...But more than anything I know that God and faith on His sons name can help us accomplish our goals, live our dreams and become the person that God created us to be.
I love all of you. And hope that you will give up on colorless dreams, sad days and regret. And instead start living with a bullet proof faith in yourself and in God's ability to help us. I know that we all have goals as to who and what we want to be... But I also testify that if we give our burdens to Heavenly Father, He will make us into something more than we can even imagine.
And please strive everyday to be happier than you were yesterday.
A big shout out to all from Gallup!! woot woot!
Love, always, Sister Swayne