Monday, September 16, 2013

YOU Can Do Hard Things!

Not long ago, I spent 2 weeks in Canada on a Brigham Young University-Idaho Performance Tour. As part of our itinerary we were invited to 2 evening firesides and 1 morning devotional for the youth. The director of my dance team, on the drive to the location where we were holding the morning devotional told me he felt inspired to ask me to share my testimony about doing hard things. I didn't write it down but I remember key points and that is what I want to share with you.

I began by asking the youth, by raise of hand, who had hiked a mountain. I then asked who thought that they had hiked the highest mountain out of the group. They called out the heights of various mountains they had hiked and then I proceeded to tell them about my hike up Mt. Elbert in Colorado.

I explained to them that as a dancer and an athlete I felt physically prepared, and I was determined to finish. I also told them that I had several friends with me and I made those friends promise me that they wouldn't let me give up: I would summit. 

I described the hike. 

We started out with about 15 in our company. Halfway up the mountain several stopped and decided they had had enough; we didn't get much farther up the mountain when more decided they were through. 

Then there were 5 of us.
I told the youth how I would take a few steps and be out of breath, I told them I felt that I was physically limited because of my asthma, but that I had support. 
I had friends, loved ones, helping me each step of the way.
I expressed my frustration because I couldn't breathe and a friend was singing Miley Cyrus "It's the Climb"! 


And then I said, "I made it to the summit that day" and paused. 

We all felt the spirit. 

Continuing, (and this is where I want you to pay attention), I shared with them something a dear friend told me. He said, "'I think I can" becomes "I knew I could" as we work hard and never give up.Adversity is unavoidable, but the way that we face our adversity determines the outcome of our experiences." 

I shared my experiences of deciding to go to college with the youth and testified that I knew the reason I was supposed to attend BYU-I was because those youth needed me, at that moment to remind them that they can do hard things, just as I am reminding you that you can do hard things

As I began to conclude I shared this quote, "Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others. Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increase compassion and understanding for others. (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Come What May, and Love It). 

I tied everything together with Christ. Just like my friends on the mountain, Jesus Christ is my friend in every other need. He strengthens me, and He sends others to strengthen me. I concluded with the thought from Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." and suggested that this scripture could be read in two ways "I can do all things which strengthen me, through the aid of Christ" and "I can do all things because Christ is who strengthens me." I personally think that both are correct.

To those of you who may be struggling. Do not get discouraged. You have your family, me, your friends, and the Hosts of Heaven on your team. 
One of my favorite quotes comes from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints April 2013 Session of General Conference. It reads, "Trials may come, and we may not understand everything that happens to us or around us. But if we humbly, quietly trust in the Lord, He will give us strength and guidance in every challenge we face. When our only desire is to please Him, we will be blessed with a deep inner peace."
--Bruce D. Porter

You got this!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Day I Decided to Serve

February 8th, 2009. That was the day I decided to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
I was 15 years old.  
Anytime I told someone I was planning on a mission I was answered with as many variations of "Oh, you won't make it on a mission, you're too pretty, surely you'll get married first," as you can think of. 
I stopped telling people. 
I accepted that those people were right. 
And then I started to believe lies.
I started to believe that maybe I was too pretty.
I started to believe that I would get married.
I started to believe that the Lord didn't need me. 
And then I saw my friends getting married.
And then I saw every relationship I tried to be in fall apart.
And then I watched as the guys I dated turned around and married the next girl they met.
I started to believe that if I wasn't married before it was time to serve a mission, I wasn't pretty.
I started to believe that if I wasn't married before it was time to serve a mission, I wasn't smart.
I started to believe that if I wasn't married before it was time to serve a mission, I wasn't good enough.
Lie after lie.
Lies corrupting my self-worth, and I believed them all. 
Then they stopped.

I remember it like it was yesterday. October 2nd, 2012. It was Tuesday. At the time I was 19, I was a junior at Brigham Young University-Idaho and there was a guy I really wanted to date. He was non-committal. 

I felt frustrated, lost, confused, unsure.

I didn't know what was happening to me. I just wanted to know if things would get better. I wanted to know what I could do to make things better.
I prayed.
I asked a question.
I knew sisters couldn't serve until age 21 but I felt like I needed to ask.
I asked if I was supposed to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I found my answer in The Book of Mormon.
And now, O my son[daughter], ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son [daughter], go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen." (Alma 42: 31)

2 years? I knew that I could do it. I would graduate with my Bachelors degree 2 weeks before my 21st birthday. I could wait that long to serve. I knew I could and I knew I would because I knew that I was supposed to serve. 

It was 4 days later when Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced that the age requirements for young men and young women, desiring and worthy to serve was now 18 for men and 19 for women. The feeling was overwhelming. Again, I could not deny that I was supposed to serve. 

I began the process of preparing my papers. I finished my portion in less than 2 days. And then it was time for me to call the doctor's office for a physical, and the dentist's office for an exam. Because I was at school, I looked up the doctor and dentist I usually visit when I am away from home but I could not call them. I tried. I would pick up the phone and dial the number. I could not physically make myself press send. The hesitation concerned me because I had been so sure about my answer. 
So, I prayed.
I asked a question. I asked if I was supposed to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
I didn't get an answer. There was no "yes," there was no "no," just silence. 
So, I prayed. 
I asked the question again. Over and over. 

Finally, almost exactly 4 years after I decided to serve, on February 24th, 2013, I received an answer. In my journal it reads, "I have been rescued, it is time to find someone to rescue... Don't question what the Lord has told you." That was the day I acted to serve. 

In 21 days, I will leave my family for 18 months. 
In 21 days, I will serve my mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa, Arizona. 
I will serve knowing that I am beautiful.
I will serve knowing that the Lord needs me.
I will serve knowing that one day I will get married, and my husband will adore me.
I will serve knowing that I am smart.
I will serve knowing that I am good enough.
I will serve knowing that I have family and friends who support me.
I will serve knowing that I have self-worth. 
I will serve knowing that I have, and believe in, truth.

I will serve so that others can find the joy that I have. The joy which only comes through relying on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life. 6,000 Miles At Time

My life starting July 24th:

Eureka, Montana
-Spontaneous Lake Swimming
-Mint Oreo Milkshakes
-Bear Survival Training


Raymond, Alberta
-First Night Sleeping in a Different Country
-Concussion Scare
-The Beginning of "Five more minutes?", "How 'bout ten?"

Medicine Hat, Alberta
-Largest Tepee in the World
-Amazing Pizza
-Farming on a side-by-side ATV
-Hot Tub

Calgary, Alberta
-Mental/Emotional/Exhaustion Breakdown
-Dance Children and Dance Parents United at Last
-Procurement of Canada Cash
-40 Matching Tourists Terrorizing Downtown

Banff, Alberta
-Most Beautiful Place on the Planet
-Most Beautiful Place on the Planet
-Oh, and did I mention it's the Most Beautiful Place on the Planet?

Regina, Saskatchewan
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Regina Temple

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
-Dancing with St. Mary's Haskayak Dancers (AMAZING)

Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
-Saw Elder Turner (my friend's brother)

Winnipeg, Manitoba
-Tourist Day!


Fargo, North Dakota
-Evening Devotional with Youth

Billings, Montana
- Morning Devotional with Youth
-Lecture/Demo at Museum

Rexburg, Idaho

Provo, Utah
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mount Timpanogos Temple

Las Vegas, Nevada
-First Time in Sin City (.. and probably the last)
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Las VegasTemple
-Jonas Brothers Concert
... enough said

St. George, Utah
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saint GeorgeTemple

Idaho Falls, Idaho
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Idaho Falls Temple
-Teaching Ballet
-Cordial Invitation to Live in "C-Town"

Provo, Utah
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake City Temple
-Lost keys at Bridal Veil 

Vernal, Utah
-Dinner with Grandpa and Ruth


And finally, August 17th, and over 6, 159 miles later, I am HOME!

In case you need a visual... 

Thank you Google Maps for reminding me that I never want to travel by car (or bus) again.
Let's get real. At this point, I'm not really sure that there is a difference between being car-sick and sick of cars. I seriously get just as nauseous thinking about getting in a car as I did being on a bus for 2 weeks.

On a more positive note: The map matches my color scheme... What a ray of sunshine that is!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cocoa-Coated Truffles

The Beginning: Back in January, I received a prize: cocoa-coated truffles. A whole box! (The chocolate, not the mushroom). I got this prize because I was able to correctly identify by name 40 people after about an hour to mingle. It was a wonderful prize.  

The End: At last it comes. The one week a semester where college students develop super powers. Somehow, without sleep, without food, and without taking a break from studying, we students can still manage to construct a sentence. 'Tis a miracle if you ask me.

Other students are stressing and studying for their finals and I am listing them in my head.


Healthcare Strategy

Managing Technologies in Provider Organizations

Three final exams. 
But I have more finals than that... conclusions of this chapter of my life.

I have lived in the same apartment for two years; I'm moving out.

I have been a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho for 3 years; I'm deferring for 18 months.

I've had the same roommates since freshman year; one is getting married, the other is transferring.

I have been on Dance Alliance for another 7 months; it will be my last time.

These are just a few of the finals I have to endure this next week. It is such a bittersweet emotion... A bit like cocoa-coated truffles. When you pop 'em in your mouth you just want to spit it out it's so bitter, but then, it gets sweet, and starts to melt and it's amazing... 

However delicious as truffles may be, I am trying to avoid my "finals" by filling my time online shopping for mission clothing (the frugality part is painful); thinking of clever things to blog about and then forgetting them right as I sit down to type it all out; and finding creative uses for food items that I have in excess, (I ought to just donate to a soup kitchen).

On the flip side of endings are beginnings. I will be starting a new adventure in Mesa. I will be serving my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ... and getting a gnarly farmer's tan while I'm at it. I will meet new people, make new friends, and share the greatest gift I have to offer: my testimony. 

The end is just the beginning and I am so excited!
To cocoa-coated truffles...

 Happy finals week everyone! 

Monday, July 15, 2013


Addict: to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively

My dear friends, I am an addict. 

Some people are addicted to coffee. Not me.
Some people are addicted to energy drinks. Not me.
Some people are addicted to alcohol. Definitely, not me.
Some people are addicted to methamphetamine. Again, definitely, not me. 
Some people are addicted to television. Not me (Insert quote: "Ain't nobody got time for that!")
Some people are addicted to video games. Again, "ain't nobody got time for that."
Some people struggle to admit addiction. Not me.

I am addicted to Subway cookies. 

In some ways, I'm your typical addict. I make you try it and get you "hooked" too. I have a "dealer." And I go borderline crazy without my "substance". 

In other ways, I'm not your typical addict. I am totally aware of my addiction. Yes, it may control me, but it doesn't make me do stupid things... Unless, of course, you consider driving around to find the proper quantity stupid. 

You would think that a sandwich shop that has used a man named Jared, who lost 245 lbs by eating their sandwiches, as their main marketing tool for years wouldn't sell cookies. Well, let me tell you: Subway sells cookies. And they are D-E-licious. I'm talking, buy them by the dozen good. 

There are four, yes, 4, Subways within the city limits of Rexburg. And I have absolutely no problem walking into one, checking to see if they have a dozen cookies, and if they don't I drive a mile or two to the next location. I then proceed to purchase my cookies. 

I may or may not eat my dozen cookies within in 24-48 hours. Never more, never less. 

I recommend the double chocolate chip cookies. 
They are my guilty pleasure and I suggest they become yours as well. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm Moving!

It's official. I'm moving!!!

The last time I moved, it was from home to college. Not sure that counts, but whatever.This has been a huge decision in the making. It's something I've wanted to do since I was 15, and something I decided to make a reality last October. I spent 17 years living in Kansas. I have spent 3 years living in Idaho. And it is now time to announce where I will spend the next year and a half of my life.

Dear Sister Gille: 
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Arizona Mesa Mission. You should report to the MTC on Wednesday, September 25, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language.

That's right! I'm moving to Mesa, Arizona! 

I'm going to be a missionary! 

When I opened the mailbox, and saw the lovely white envelop I could barely breathe... 
And then a burst of adrenaline came and I ran to my apartment where I proceeded to ask a roommate to hide it from me because I wanted to open it so badly.

Here are some pictures:

Before I opened it!

My area:

I am so grateful for the love and support of all of my friends and family!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Am Human

Christmas 2010 I received a very thoughtful, very long, hand-written letter from my best friend. At 9 pages front and back, and given to me about a week before I left for college, she gave me an amazing piece of advice, “you are not Superwoman, don’t try to be.”

Two and a half years later, I am learning the significance of her admonition. I have now been enrolled in 8 consecutive semesters, maintaining a minimum of 16 credit hours for 7 of them, and being employed, (both paid and unpaid positions), for 5 of those terms. During this time, I have also been on 51 first dates, been in 3 serious relationships, and made the best friends I’ve ever had. Sounds busy, huh? There’s more.

 I am a dance minor, and have participated in 3, invitation only works of choreography, which I don’t get credit for and don’t get paid to be in. They take a minimum of 2 hours of rehearsal a week. For credit, I’ve been on a team called Dance Alliance for 4 semesters, which rehearses between 6-8 hours a week regularly, though sometimes we can rehearse in upwards of 20 hours a week.  We also travel, sometimes during the school week. Just like your favorite infomercial I can say, “But wait, there’s more!”

Just over a year ago my parents began the divorce process. As if trying to work through and understand my thoughts and feelings about it wasn’t challenging enough, I broke my foot about a month later. I was taking 20 credit hours at the time and working 10-15 hours a week.

I pushed through it. Just like I push through everything else.

I tried to be Superwoman.

I don’t claim to be wise. I don’t claim to know all of the answers. But one thing that I’ve realized is that the key to happiness is recognizing that you are human.

That’s right.

I am human.

And I struggle with human emotions and human problems.

I get frustrated. I get hurt. I get angry. I cry. I get jealous. I make stupid mistakes. I. Am. Human
It’s okay to feel frustrated. It’s okay to be hurt. Making mistakes is part of life, an area that I am particularly proficient at. It’s by reminding myself that I’m not perfect, and that I won’t be overnight, that I have been able to not only accept myself, but also accept others. I am realizing that I can’t measure someone by a standard which I myself cannot, or have not, achieved.

Don’t tell my dad, but I think it’s okay, healthy even, to skip a homework assignment every once and a while. I dropped a class for the first time in my life. Most liberating feeling, ever. Sometimes you have to take a moment for yourself. The “me” moments. Sometimes it’s being silly. Sometimes it’s crying. Sometimes it’s treating yourself to a mani/pedi. (Which I want like crazy right now).  Sometimes it’s giving into those moments when you just don’t want to do anything.

The fact of the matter is. I don’t want to do homework. Which is why I wrote this blog.