Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Turning out and Christmas

Hey-oh, my faves! This week has been a crazy one- it ended on quite the finale of Sister Luker misplacing the phone and the Rices driving us on over to Bismarck today to pick up a new one from the office. Oh man, pure craziness all around. But alas, Sister Rice and the clan are the true MVPs of this weeeeek!! They made Christmas totally perfect, and they saved our p-day- no longer phone-less bafoons, with the whole mission freaking out about our whereabouts! Adventures all around! Man oh man! We've got a fancy new sliding phone and bellies full of Chinese food, and we're using up our last bit of p-day emailing away! Yahoooooo for a well used Monday! 

But anyway, my intro paragraph probably give it away...but this week has been a crazy one. CRAZY, I tell you! It's also been perfect and lovely and totally wonderful...but crazy nonetheless. Being a missionary is the craziest experience I've had yet on this 18 months of crazy experiences- it just didn't feel quite like real life. I don't even know how to explain it, I just can't believe it's been five months and Christmas has come and gone...and we're back to just being missionaries again. It's kind of the best. This week was amazing, really and truly...but I'm grateful to be getting back to the norm and start cranking out the lessons again. But, somehow, we still had a pretty solid week of teaching killer lessons- yahooooo for missionary work! It's amazing to me that the minute you turn out and focus on others in the depths of Christmas despair, you find joy. That lesson was truly what the week was about- recognizing the wonders and miracles of life and choosing to be happy when it's not the easy choice. 

Man, I'm intro-ing hard core today! It's just what happens when your usual email time gets high-jacked by impromptu trips to Bismarck and you spend all day philosophizing about your week. We're just rolling with it! I should probably eventually tell you all what actually happened this week, haha. Let's jump in!

Last Monday was pure bliss- pictures galore in emails from home (that's really what I want, people!), randomly contacting referrals during said glorious email time, "Frozen" earrings at Shopko to commemorate last transfer, Sister Roundy following us around throughout all of pday and lit'really throwing money our way for groceries- she's a dream!, and making treats with Sister Lee. It was such a chill and wonderful p-day. It seems like a million years ago, but such a good day. Christmas shenanigans all around! We got Sister Luker's mail all sent off and cute little do-dads for all our faves- pure bliss!

We dined Monday night at the Maupins (chicken alfredo pizza, dontcha know!) and swapped cute family photos- it was great fun! We tried crazy amounts of people and didn't have a lot of luck...it's all good. It was p-day! There was nothing that could go wrong! We headed back to home base after a beautiful day, full of joy and exhilaration after such a nice day. Huzzah!

Alright, onto Tuesday! Making progress! On Tuesday, I turned five months old mission wise- can you even believe it?! I can't, man oh man, You know we had a midday ice cream break- you gotta take advantage of every month mark you can! Sister Luker let me open one of her Christmas presents, and I wisely chose the perfectly purple earmuffs. So winter-y! We kicked off our day with the morning routine and some tracting, during which we met a friendly cat Sis Luker named Leo. We became instant BFFs and are still in contact, of course. Leo's owners didn't let us in...but we'll be back! Only one door opened for us during that fateful tracting experience...so we moved on from that neighborhood and headed over to Hazen...where we tracted some more.
We've got Leo the cat (seriously bonded, I don't even know)    

The thing about tracting on an unsuspecting Tuesday days before Christmas is that you quickly become a crazy person- so we tried people throughout our finding attempts and had a really cool Bro. Lee lesson. Yahoo! That sweet and wonderful man is still not super progressing...one day, one day. I think when it's his idea, he'll be more apt to do something...I don't know. We'll keep harassing him and making him feel the love, haha. 

We also met a really nice lady from Seattle while tracting named Nancy- she's was super cool! Something might happen one day with that lady- we'll see! She's living in North Dakota for the time being because her mom is sick...but we totally shared "A Savior is Born" and invited ourselves over to her place again, haha. We'll see, we'll see!

We dined at the Cline's, and made adorable magnets for Christmas- hopefully our Tuesday night crafting adventures continue after the holiday season! It's became such a bright spot in my weeks, man oh man. We also made monkey bread and had crazy good tortellini (yahoo for the Phillips, who gave away their fancy pasta to Sis Cline!!)- it was a great time!

making magnets at the Cline's, 
After dinner, we raced over to the Crane's and had a super quick and awesome lesson with Hailee- I love that girl so much! We chatted about Christ and using the Atonement, and it was just the greatest. We headed home after that, where we were greeted by a glorious Perkins package of OREOOOOOOS! Happy month mark to meeeeee!! We feasted on those puppies during nightly planning- it was heavenly!

We had a pretty solid Eve of Christmas Eve- we turned to each other about fifty times though out the day and said, "We just need to get through today...and then it's Christmassss!!” Somehow, in the midst of Christmas excitement, we managed to remain focused and solid missionaries- it was great fun. We woke up to a couple inches of fresh snow- yahooooo!! You know it's bound to be a great day when we wake up to snow, man oh man. We studied and tracted and met our wonderful fave Amanda Reidhead for lunch- it was the greatest ever. We ate at the Country Kettle (or just the Kettle, according to the Beulah natives), during which we entered the age old debate between which is the best holiday, Christmas or Halloween. Obviously, Christmas is the true winner...but Amanda is a lover of all things Halloween. We're soul mates (or Seoul mates, hehe) in every other aspect- but even the best of BFFs aren't totally the same. It was a good life lesson, haha. 

We tracted for most of our Wednesday, and it was seriously delightful! We were both in the best of pre-Christmas moods, and it was pretty wonderful. We took a midday mail break- and SISTER LUKER FINALLLLLLLY GOT HER CHRISTMAS PACKAGE!!  I was stressing hard core for this sweet comp of mine, and I made her bust it open before we headed back out. I'm a great trainer, haha. BUT, within the Luker package of the century was a letter addressed to ME, with a copy of their family Christmas card and a sweet note. It was pure bliss! I also got a super sweet Christmas/month mark package from my dear Sister Finlinson- I love that crazy cat!  

We took our media hour after that, where we ran into Val (from our crazy Saturday adventure with the pigs, dontcha know!) and gave her one of our cute magnets that we made with Sister Cline- totally where we were meant to be! We tracted for a spell after our time there, and then headed on over to Barb's for dinner- we ate dinner with BARBBBBB!!! It was the greatest. Scott asked lots of crazy questions about the church over our beautiful meal of fried chicken and mashed potatoes- great fun! We chatted after dinner about Christ and watched a MoTab video- Barb was suppppper into it. It was perfection! We also convinced Scott to wrap all of Barb's Christmas presents, haha. We gave Barb our present (a ceramic goose, of course), and it was just a wonderful night. 

We ran to Dairy Queen after dinner to meet up with Renee, our Jamberry lady and new BFF. Sister Leach set up the whole thing, and she paid for Jamberries for us for Christmas- all we had to do was pick them out! Turns out, that was the hardest bit of all. We looked through the whole crazy beautiful catalog and she miraculously had our spirit Jamberries in stock, yahooooo!! It was truly glorious. I'm totally in love with Jamberry, guys. Send 'em my way!!

We dropped off a couple presents after our nail exchange, and headed in for the night...and then it was time for CHRISTMASSSS EVE!! 

Our Thursday was mildly disappointing- it was a planning day, people! It was the worst! I think weekly planning should never fall on holidays, ugh. But, I pulled it together and wore my reindeer headband the whole day and endured the awful. Man, it was awful. We stayed strong- our mid-planning Jamberry break helped, haha- and miraculously finished planning just as it was time to leave for dinner at the Istilart's- so we ran over to Halliday and had the most magical of evenings!

Jamberries during weekly planning    
Oh man, let's all take a moment to appreciate how amazing and awesome the Istilarts are. MAN, I love them so much! We baked Swedish goodies and chatted about Christmas and helped wrap some presents- it was truly joyful. In the Istilart home, Christmas Eve is all about Tomtin, the Swedish Santa who leaves bags of presents at your door from all your extended fam after dinner. It was so magical to be part of all the excitement and anticipation- that's truly what Christmas is all about! (And also Christ. I know that, guys. Obviously. I'm on a mission.) It was so magical. We had Swedish meatballs (it was like eating at Ikea!!) and mashed potatoes for dinner- so delish. AND, before we knew it, there was a knock at the door and Tomtin stopped by!

Breanna and Braxton brought the bags in, and Sis Istilart started handed out the presents- so joyful. Bro. Istilart was looking antsy...and he finally asked, "Where is the magic bag??". I had no idea what was going on...and, suddenly, presents started getting passed our way and the magic begins. The sneaky Istilart fam got in contact in our sweey families and the first present I opened was a perfect little package of Mammy's caramels and homemade tag alongs. I seriously started ugly crying right then and there, and the presents kept coming. We got our spirit gloves, scarf, and hat, and pens and stationary and post its ANNNNNND a perfect shower towel turban- from Norwex, guys! I don't even have an emoji to express the pure perfection of that blessed Christmas Eve. Sweden truly has Christmas all figured out, and I am so grateful for the pure and Christlike love that radiates from this area. How did I get so lucky? 

We left the Istilart's with tons of leftovers and goodies (including cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, of course) and big momma bear hugs- it was just a perfect Christmas Eve. Somehow, the Istilarts made it feel like home and it was pure bliss. I feel so incredibly blessed to be in Beulah and surrounded by true disciples of Christ, man oh man. 

Upon our return to home base, we busted open our Christmas Eve presents (PJs for me and a blanket for Sister Luker) and moved our mattresses into the front room- yahooooo for Christmas!! 

my Christmas pajamas (totally obsessed, ya know)    
our sweet little tree- full of wonderfully perfect presents (so much joy!)    
Christmas was so perfect, even though it was a true departure from the norm. We woke up and opened our presents, headed to Dickinson for an early morning (and top secret) district meeting, and studied before heading over to the Rice's to skype our sweet fams. It was the greatest ever! It was tough to chat, but so perfect to hear everyone laugh and talk and really, to just look at everyone for an extended period of time. I wish I could've just skyped forever...but duty calls! We ate dinner and headed back out to be missionaries. It was such a perfect day, even though it was hard. We wished all our fave lonely peeps a Merry Christmas, and called it a night. Pure bliss, once more! 
a sweet Christmas morning selfie    

Not too much to report from Saturday and Sunday- lots of tracting and crazy lessons, yahoooo! We had interviews with President on Sunday, where we chatted and got super cool mission swag for Christmas- temple recommend holders and t-shirts! Merrrrrry Christmas, homies!!

Welp, we're about outta time- but I love you all so so much! Thank you for all the support and mail and love- it makes all the difference!! I am so grateful for all you do, really and truly. 

Have the greatest week, my faves! 


Sister Robinson

and the crazy cold morning- yikes, yikes, yikes! I'm a little bit cold lately, haha. 

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