Monday, August 18, 2014

Allowing Ourselves to Feel Joy.

We went and saw Chenonceau castle last week!
Breath-taking. Every single inch of it.
This week will be a bit shorter than usual. But Happy Birthday Trenton and Amber!

I am actually doing e-mails in Paris today. I got a text last week telling me that a member that I had known and loved in Nogent had passed away from cancer. So my wonderful Mission President let me come up for the funeral which was this morning. Oh my heart. It was hard. I love that family so much. Windy Lam-Yam is from Tennessee and Philippe Lam-Yam is from France. They have an adorable little boy named Ryan. Windy really helped me and loved me when I was having a really hard time. It was such a blessing and honor to be able to come back and see her again. Pray for them.
I'll be honest, this week was not my favorite. Just hard in a lot of ways.
It was the last week of a transfer which can either be a time to count the blessings and miracles, or a time to wallow in the woulda coulda shouldas. And that is partially how I was spending it.
But luckily I have wonderful Soeur Hopkins here to remind me to count the little things.
I also found an old article that Soeur Garrett had given me way back almost a year ago. It's a blog post called Drops of Awesome. I think every person needs to read it, and especially every missionary. It always helps me put my head back on straight when I'm losing my vision. She talks a lot about how way too often we focus on the negative and what we are doing wrong, instead of focusing on all the things we are doing right! So simple. But so human. And it's SO easy to do especially as a missionary. But it makes you miserable. And you actually end up performing even worse. In the end, it's not about making excuses... it's about letting ourselves feel joy. My best friend, Kaity, wrote me something this week that I love: "You know, in Preach my gospel it says God rejoices when we do what is right. That means EVERY LITTLE THING we do right. God is proud of me and rejoices over the little things I do every day, not only when I baptize someone." I just LOVE that.

I can't even begin to describe the blog post Drops of Awesome and how it has changed me, so you're going to have to go find it and read it yourself. But here is my favorite thing she says:
"Our capacity for joy and light increases. And we just keep working, one tiny drop at a time. And we don't compare today's drops to yesterday's or tomorrow's. And we live and we love and we repent when we do wrong and we allow ourselves to be glorious and beautiful. I believe in a God who loves us and roots for us and cheers for every drop of awesome we can manage. Our victories are His victories, and He wants us to feel joy. Not later, when we no longer make mistakes, but right now."

While at Chenonceaux train station, we stopped to take a picture in front of the sign. Then behind us we heard a man's voice say "Oh, you're Mormon!" and immediately thought 'Oh no, not again. Creepy men everywhere we go...' But we turned around and saw a man smiling so big. He walked over and introduced himself as a member from Nimes who is just on vacation in Tours. We talked for a bit and found out that he is actually a convert. He told us some of his story, and we told him some of ours, and then right as we were saying our goodbyes, he looked right at us and said "You know, I want you sisters to know something. What you are doing is so incredible. Never get down on yourself. Remember, every little thing counts. Every smile counts."
It all counts. God is proud of my meager victories that feel Herculean at times.
I love you all so stinking much!
Love, Soeur Autumn Bradley

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