Monday, February 29, 2016

Blue Skies and Sunshine (or nah)

Once upon a time, I survived a tornado

let's talk about that

Today was one of the most nuts days ever

We visited a lady in our ward that doesn't come to church because she's older and has chronic pain from a car accident --way sad

but she has a ton of cats

and has been having a rough time because one of her favorite cats just died and 
she had to pick up his ashes
(she had him cremated) 
on her birthday.

I actually learned a lot from this experience because as myself I would think.. what the.. 
but when I saw what she was going through and the sadness she was experiencing I truly felt the Saviors love for her.  Even if He isn't into her collection of cremated kitties, I can honestly say straight up I'm not, He cares about what she cares about and He felt her pain in that garden, the least I can do is do my best to bring comfort to this sweet lady in any way I can. 

Bless my companions heart, today she vacuumed her house and found cat poop on the floor. (Grandma Pat, I bet you love this story;)  We told her about the poop and she informed us it was just a hairball and to vacuum it up.  So we did.

Later we reflected on the experience, and my comp and I decided that the fur ball was very much indeed poop.  Nevertheless, we vacuumed it up and prayed that the good feeling's we got from service would outweigh the odor in our nostrils.
Good news, prayers work.

Later that night at dinner, a raging storm hit. 

One of the most legit jobs I have as a missionary, and one that I take very seriously and work on all the time, is that of backing my companion.

whadafetch does that mean

let me tell you

It is part of mission rules, that whenever the driver is backing up a car 
and I mean when EVER
their companion must physically remove themselves from the car and use their arms to back them safely out off the parking stall/driveway/anywhere they are backing out of.

We had a whole day in the MTC learning how to do this 

so naturally I am a fabulous backer upper --on regular occasions

I don't even pay any mind to the onlookers at Subway that see me coaxing my companion in the car out of the parking stall like a butterfly out of it's cocoon.  Yes.  It is a beautiful experience and despite the looks of confusion and smiles of amusement coming from the car washers across the way, I did my job with dignity.

But this one night, the night of the storm things did not go so well.

I blame the MTC for not teaching us how to back our companions.... 
(ps. when I said earlier that they do, it was a joke)

It was stormy so that also plays a role in the events that occurred.

and the driveway was way long and super narrow..
I could go on and on but ultimately the biggest factor involved in what went down in regards to the car and the rest of the night was the orange tree.

Side note: the rain in Florida is like sheets of rain, drops don't exist. my comp could not see as she backed out of this super narrow long dark stormy driveway, 
I guided her the best I could until I saw the orange tree.

Florida:  State Fruit-Oranges. State Juice-Orange Juice. State Flower-Orange Blossoms. 

What better way to become initiated into Florida than to pick a fresh orange off of a tree in the middle of a tropical storm?!?!?!?!?!? 
Answer: none

...unless you're allergic to oranges which I happen to be. But only mildly, I told myself as I plucked an orange off of a branch.

I was so pumped to have picked an actual orange right off of a tree and to be in the beautiful rain (Utah is devoid of orange bearing trees and skies bearing water) 
That I forgot my vital duties as a car backer.

She had followed me to the tree and that most definitely was not on the path to the road anymore.  My comp got in a sticky situation where she was stuck in some trees and couldn't get back on the drive way to the road.  So she drove over the grass of the neighbors yard and over what I am pretty sure was a tree stump.

We finally got on the road and I peeled and tried my orange.  It wasn't ripe.  The end.

only not the end because the left side of my face started to swell and my tongue went all tingly on the way to the recent converts home.

I have never had this extreme of a reaction.. it's the first and last time I will because I won't be doing that again.

At the rc family's home I was graciously given a couple of Benadryl and informed that a tornado had just touched ground twenty miles away, headed in my direction going 55 miles per hour. 

Again. This all happened in one day.

So picture me flipping out on the inside, watching the news (I think that's allowed when a huge tornado is twirling it's way to your front door) The news was showing parents putting helmets on their little kids surrounding them with pillows in the bathtubs to stay safe. 

We were instructed to get to the middle of the house, and I fell asleep.

Catch'n some Zzzzzzz...

but Sister Saunders, how in the literal world did you fall asleep at a time like that?

 Benadryl.  I had never had more than one up until this night and two pills knocked me right out.

I awoke a few times to get updates and to learn that the huge tornado was projected to head further north instead of right at us.  It's coarse continued away from us.
The crazy thing about the storm directly above us, was that as soon as it passed over Gulf Breeze, 
it touched down as a tornado. 
It was like it went right over us and resumed it's madness after passing us. #ourfaithwassufficient 

The next day ish we went to help pull trees out of peoples houses, and collect fences and such that had been demolished.  It was such a culture shock. 

woah.  First house we drive by with damage had no roof.  NO ROOF and all windows were broken. Trees were skewering homes everywhere, the path of the vortex was evident,
and I was quite frankly, shocked.

It was so sad,
but so amazing to see the unity in these neighborhoods as we all joined together to help.

It was a full day of hard work, and I accidentally dropped a piece of fence on my foot with a nail carving my foot in a straight line. (hopefully I got my tetanus shot) I can honestly say I felt so good at the end of the day to look back and see what a days worth did.  We got a TON accomplished.  
It was touching to see complete strangers banded together, taking off of work to walk around strange streets and render service.

I also got to experience the most amazing steak slash meal I have ever had in my life in an Irish pub called McGuires with one of the most awesome sixty one year olds I know.  She took us out to eat for her birthday because her husband is in Africa and she said we are the next best thing.  How awesome is she?  It was hilarious and honestly like Irish Disneyland.  There was an insane line to get in and a bag piper that was plastered walking around talking about how he gets free beer but insanely enough he could play the pipes just about perfectly.  Naturally, I have to bring my dad here someday.  
It's on the bucket list.  
The women's restroom has a sign on it that says "not the mens restroom" and the mens has one that says "not the womens" which was a bit confusing but we figured it out.     

there are only two of these steakhouses in the world...

and they're both in Florida

add that to my list of why I was called to Florida

Dad, for you I plucked the tiny Irish flag out of my steak and taped it to the back of my name tag just like yours.

 (Da went to Ireland on his mission)

I feel super cool now. 

Spiritual time.


What do Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, a mustard seed, you, and I all have in common?

each starts out small and grows into something great...
Jesus Christ who would grow to be the Savior of mankind was born in a stable and slept in a manger.
Joseph Smith the prophet who saw God and Jesus Christ, restored the gospel in these last days for the last time beginning the last dispensation of time on this Earth.  Began that journey as a 14 year old plough boy never exceeding that of a third grade education.

A mustard seed is the size of half of a half of a peanut.  It grows to be an immovable mighty tree with roots far reaching into the foundation of the Earth.

Us.  We start out even smaller than a mustard seed.  We grow but have forgotten where we came from.  All we know comes from the lone and dreary world.  We experience trials sadness loss guilt discouragement and pain.  We struggle to make good choices and we sin. 
This scenario doesn't seem even close to the others.  We are nothing?

"For no unclean thing can enter into the presence of God"
spiritual death
We live we die
physical death


What we are should not be as often pondered as What we can become. 

What we can become with Christ and because of His atonement?
Like. Our. Father.

What can we do with Christ?

Move Mountains

What can we have if we repent and yoke ourselves with Jesus Christ strengthening our faith, repenting daily, keeping and making covenants, utilizing the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring well until the end.


"by small means the Lord can bring about great things."

Nephi 16:29

So keep praying start praying never stop praying

I've come to realize because of Him, because He lives

Spiritual/Physical death mean NOTHING

our potential as sons and daughters of our loving Heavenly Father means


I can never Repay Him but I sure as Heaven will do my best to Represent Him.

under 3 minute video from Easter 2014

Florida State Sea Mammal~Manatee

I love you!
Make It A Good Day:)
Sister Saunders

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