23 April 2013


My very part-time unpaid internship is quickly turning into a full-time unpaid job... haha :/

But I'm very grateful for the chance to gain experience and build my own network of contacts... so here's to hoping it'll all be worth it.

(By the way, my new found love of the hashtags is in complete jest, and is entirely the fault of my best friend, Eryn. I do not have a twitter, and plan to keep it that way. It could be a phase... but I have a feeling that #thiscouldbeaddictive.)

22 April 2013


So my internship with WVN has been amazing so far! My supervisor is very enthusiastic, and has been thrilled with everything I've done so far... which has been a HUGE confidence boost after my 300+ job applications have all ended in rejection. This has been a great way for me to get my foot in the door, while maintaining the flexibility in hours and location that I've needed over the last couple months.

I'm in charge of Partnerships and Outreach, but I'm still just an intern, and I've only been with them for about 6 weeks. I have been under the impression that I am only in charge of preliminary research of potential partners, initial contact with them, and then the liaison between WVN and our partners, which is enough to be a full-time job in and of itself.

Last week I finally started contacting organizations from my exponentially growing list. Today I heard back from a group that was in my top 5 of "Must-Haves" for WVN partners. They are interested and want to chat more! So I forwarded the response to my supervisor, the executive director, and figured she'd take it from there.

Nope. She wants ME to negotiate the partnership. This HUGE opportunity that could help catapult WVN onto the main stage of NGOs... and I'M IN CHARGE?! hahahaha Yep. I'm terrified. I'm a VOLUNTEER INTERN who has only been with WVN for 6 weeks. I've never even met anyone from WVN in person. Never participated in one of our projects. Never observed the details of a partnership behind the scenes. Never negotiated anything other than baptismal dates and nap times with stubborn investigators and cranky children, respectively.

Yep, way out of my league. And way above my pay grade.

06 April 2013

If General Conference were a holiday...

...it would definitely be my favorite.

There is NOTHING on earth like gathering with all the Saints worldwide to figuratively sit at the feet of God's living prophet, apostles, and other specially called general authorities to learn what He would have us know, do and be at this specific time on earth. The Spirit of God is always palpable, and I find myself spiritually bingeing during the entire weekend... like a sponge trying to soak up all the water from a fire hose. It's not possible, but I still try.

But one of the most miraculous parts about modern technology is that I can revisit the powerful messages shared during General Conference as often as I would like. So now my sponge can stay as saturated as I want, constantly soaking up personal revelation dripping from the fountain of the Word of God.

The more the world starves itself of feeling the Spirit and the love of God, the more God tries to pour out upon us. And He does so through His living Prophet and Apostles.
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."-Amos 3:7
(Obviously, in this scripture the "secret" the Lord reveals to His prophets is the Fulness of His Gospel, but for my purposes I'm going to digress.)

I think the only things that God keeps truly "secret" from His children, individually and collectively, are those things which we don't allow Him to tell us, or to which we refuse to listen. But that doesn't stop God from trying to teach and share with us. Rather, He calls a Prophet whom He can trust completely to be His mouthpiece to the world, to work tirelessly to teach, guide, serve, and love His children here upon the earth. In this way, God is able to teach and guide His children, while simultaneously testing our ability to have faith in His plan and trust in whom He calls as His servants.

In all His goodness and mercy, He also promises to answer our sincere personal prayers. With the calling of every new prophet and apostle that I have lived through, I have prayed diligently to know for myself if he was truly called of God. God has never failed to answer me through the Holy Ghost, beyond any shadow of a doubt. It is this process which has blessed me to gain a very personal testimony of the sacred calling which these men have received from God, and which has allowed me to act in faith in an effort to follow their counsel.

For those who know me, they know that I definitely have a rebellious streak. I have never been forced to do something as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that I have not wanted to do. I have personally read and studied the Holy Scriptures, searching the Word of God and His prophets, for countless hours over the years. I have prayed and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father in seeking my personal testimony and confirmation on my own decisions. I keep the Lord's commandments because I LOVE Him, and for no other reason. Well, the blessings I receive in return are pretty encouraging, too... ;) It seems that everywhere I have lived, I have met people who seem flabbergasted that I actually WANT to remain chaste before marriage or refrain from drinking alcohol or pay my tithing. But if they knew our Heavenly Father like I have come to know Him, if they comprehended our divine nature, if they understood God's incredible plan for His children, I am confident that they, too, would WANT to do all He asks of us. It's actually quite *liberating* to live a life free from the influence of harmful substances and full of the confidence that comes from knowing who I am and owning my ability to choose, not to mention the windows of heaven continuously pouring out blessings upon me... you won't hear me complaining about that. :)

The Apostle Paul expressed my testimony better than I probably ever could:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:35, 37-39
Having a living Prophet on the earth is not a way to separate us from our Heavenly Father or having daily personal communion with Him. Rather, it's one of the countless ways that He has decided to manifest and prove His love for all His children. Seen from this viewpoint, General Conference is like Christmas, New Years, Easter, my birthday, and my mission all rolled into one for me. All the love, peace, personal revelation, self introspection, and extreme joy that comes with each one of those all wrapped up into 2 glorious weekends a year. So yes, if General Conference were a holiday, it would definitely be my favorite.

I apologize for the short novella it took for me to make my point. haha

01 April 2013

The Decision and What Followed

What a wonderful experience to finally have something important to decide once more! No words in any language that I know can express how truly humbled and grateful I felt after being accepted into both graduate programs that I loved. University of Birmingham and University of Manchester are both fantastic schools, both ranked in the top 400 universities in the world and the top 25 in the UK. (Yes, both schools are in England.) And both of the programs that I applied to are stellar. So I was a little overwhelmed with how to choose! (And yet so grateful that I COULD choose!)

Of course my brother Skylar served in the Manchester Mission, and therefore could help me in a lot of ways with info, contacts, etc. That was a huge plus! However, the program at Birmingham includes an individual fieldwork component as part of my dissertation research. Everyone in the NGO world can tell you that hands-on field experience goes a L O N G way when it comes to job searching. And seeing as how I've technically been unemployed since January 2011, increased employability is a HUMUNGOUS plus. I spent hours researching both programs, schools, professors and staff, scholarships, cities, attractions, institutes, distances to all the family history sites I hope to visit, etc. I made lists. LOTS of LISTS. And as I felt myself pulled in one direction more than another, I made my decision and prayed about it. I felt fine... nothing earth-shattering or spectacularly confirming after praying. So I let it marinate in my mind and heart for a few days. While doing that, I talked to Skylar, and a few other friends who have studied in the UK or currently work in the nonprofit world. I REALLY wanted to make the BEST decision for ME. And I realized I was still leaning towards that same school. So I concluded that was my decision. I prayed and fasted and attended the temple before clicking on that "Accept Offer" button, just to make sure. Then one night I had a dream where I was telling a bunch of strangers where I was going to grad school. When I woke up, any residual doubt had been swept away and I accepted the offer that morning.

So WHERE, you ask, am I going to grad school? The University of Birmingham!!! My course is the MSc in International Development (Conflict, Security, and Development pathway). It starts 30 September 2013, and takes one year to complete. Despite being the more difficult option in most aspects, it is the program and school and city that best fit with my needs. And I've never shied away from doing hard things before, so I'm certainly not going to start now!

Since accepting the offer I have dived into a flurry of activity filling out forms and paperwork for all sorts of details. I have also started my part-time, volunteer internship with Women's Voices Now as their Partnership and Outreach representative. Thankfully I do it from home, so it is super flexible with all my travels over the next several weeks. I'm LOVING it! It is an organization that I can endorse without reservation. You should all check it out! www.womensvoicesnow.org. They have an online Film Festival as a continuation of the short-film festival event they hosted last year, so all the short-films are available to watch for free on their website. My job is to research organizations and individuals that could potentially be great partners for WVN, develop a Potential Partner info packet, contact them, and be the WVN representative to work with them once they become partners. No small task for a lowly intern, but I'm stoked! I'm still in the research and development phase, but it's going well so far. Though  I will admit to spending about 5x longer than I was told to per week working on it. But there's nothing wrong with wanting to do the best job I can, for both our sakes, right?

Needless to say, life over the last month has picked up significantly, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it!