Monday, January 28, 2013

"Be Up and Doing"

Last night I happened upon this poem in a book I am reading. I found myself dwelling on it's words, and thought perhaps you would also enjoy it. 
I especially like the last stanza in foresight of my mission.
A Psalm of Life
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-
Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait. 

(emphasis added)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One Fine D-eh

When I graduated I thought it meant the end of slaving over papers. Unfortunately, when I am assigned to speak in church, my brain autopilots to the only way it knows how to prepare such things. 
Exhibit A:
Nine Page Outline of Mission Decision History
The truth is, the last week or so has been pretty crazy in preparing to leave. No joke, I got an hour and 40 minutes of sleep the night before I gave my talk. That's pretty lousy. I was up all night writing this bad boy. Did I mention I spoke for half an hour? After I spoke the Landeen Brethren sang, "Lord I Would Follow Thee," leaving the high counselor with only eight minutes... whoops!

With the exception of a few people, most everyone I cared to have there came. As I looked over the pulpit I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who came to support me. By the end of the day my shoulders were sore from all of the hugging I did. 

After I spoke we had a farewell party at the Warburton home. Complete with waffles, crepes, toppings and "Canadian bacon," I'd say we know how to through a party. 
One of my Hidden Talents is Cutting Strawberries. Lots of Them.
We've Been Eating Breakfast All Week.
Cookies were reserved for the after-party at our house. My mom has developed an ultra cutsie imagination lately and decided we needed to make Canadian Flag cookies. 
Exhibit B:
Thanks to Lauren and Aly it Happened.
I was ultimately exhausted by the end of the day. I talked Scott and Jo into staying an extra night, and they were kind enough to tolerate my fatigue as we hung out. And of course I had changed into my pajamas and was washing my face when the Stake President and his wife stopped by... I think they understood. 

All in all it was a very delightful day being surrounded by my family, friends, and ward. My one regret is that I didn't take pictures with all of my guests... (Some took them on their phones or cameras, if it was you, please send them my way)!

Dad Snapped This One...
Also, this is a noteworthy photo:
Official Missionary Plaque. Look For It In A Church Near You.
(that is, if you are standing at 673 East 300 North in AF).

Two weeks from this moment I will be getting ready for bed in the MTC.
It's gonna be great. 

Sydnie Juniper

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Countdown to Blastoff

Let the countdown begin! Today, the sixth of January, means that I have exactly one month until I report to the Missionary Training Center. To commemorate this monumental day I am going to break ground on my blog redesign. Yes, this will be transformed into "one of those mission blogs." Though, I hope it won't be mundane- I'll try to keep it interesting, writing specifically for the blog rather than posting my weekly family emails. I'll just send them to my sister and have her slap 'em up here for your viewing pleasure.

If you know me at all, you know that I love plays on words, witty remarks and strive to be considered clever. Thus, I will be renaming my blog in regards to this part of my personality. Feel free to like it as much as I do, those of you who don't... well, it has nothing to do with your eternal salvation. For the 19 months hereafter this blog will be branded, "Sydster Landeen." Wait, I hope I didn't make you expect anything elaborate... Anyhow, it the spirit of brevity (which is something I am striving to improve upon) I'll leave it at that.

Sydnie Juniper

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I racked up quite an overdue fine at the library this past semester... turns out that seven day grace period only applies if you haven't renewed the book. I am not frequently argumentative, but I am always inquiring; in some circumstances I see fit to be both. This payed off when I talked them into reducing the fine by 50%. 

Those library books are not the only thing that I neglected to provide in a timely manner; for you see, I have been keeping something from you, dear internet. I have created several mental blog posts  planning to divulge, in the most perfect way, the path my life is taking. Unfortunately those mental blog posts never fail to fleet out of my mind just as fast as they arrive, and that is the tragedy of neglecting to write them down. I suppose this will have to do.

From the beginning of 2012 I have received a number of blessings from my father. It has been a year of uncertainty. Uncertainty which direction to go, uncertainty that I was in the right position, and uncertainty of whether I was strong enough to really be who I am supposed to be. In the midst of such questioning and doubt of the undefined future I sought the counsel of my Heavenly Father. "There is time for you, Sydnie" was His recurring response. After the fourth time I had been told this I asked my dad why he though it was important for me to know acknowledge it. The simple response I heard was that I needed to take time and realign Sydnie with herself. Perhaps I had been spending too much time worrying about other people, the world, and expectations they had for me. I needed to accept that I needed time to acknowledge what it is that I expect of myself, and most importantly what Heavenly Father's plan for me is. Absorbed in what I saw as the responsibility of pleasing everyone, I became selective in allotting time for myself. 

I'll save most of the details for another blog post (you know that "year in review" post that the typical blogger etches out at the end of a year). The point of this post is to share some news. Back in August I wrote a blog post that talked about some of my options for the future. In that post I said:

"I graduate in December with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a minor in French.  Then what?  I'll tell you what.  I have decided that rather than have a plan A, B, C, D, and E, I'm establishing five plan A's.  I'm going to prepare for it all, that way when opportunities present themselves I will be ready for anything.  So, go ahead, ask me if I am going to grad school, going on a mission, entering the workforce, traveling abroad, or heck getting married.  Because I will answer with, 'I'm working towards it.'  The truth is, I am not going to make any irrational moves.  After all I can do, I will turn it over to the Lord to direct my paths.  He has always been a part of my decision making and that isn't going to change."  

In review, I would say that I did a pretty good job of that. My final semester I took the institute class I call, "Preparing for the Uncertain Future" which really means I took 3- "Preparing for an Eternal Marriage," "The Life of Christ" and "Missionary Preparation."  I kept my eye out for jobs I could potentially apply for and I revamped my resume. I often spent time searching for graduate programs, and even found some new options I hadn't considered before. You could say my eggs were all in different baskets, if you know what I mean. There was no way I was going to bank on just one option until I was certain about it. Operation Five Plan A's was in full force.

As I began realigning myself and spending more time with me I realized something that blew my mind. Of course, life is always relative from person to person and this realization may not apply for everyone... People always say that life has a crazy way of turning out unexpectedly... but for me, I realized that life is turning out (so far) the exact way I imagined it as I was growing up. The only difference is that I took a little bit different path to get here than I would have thought. But even so, maybe the path wasn't different, it was just some of the experiences along the way that I did not anticipate, and thus distracted me that caused me to think it was different.

Along these same lines I understand that hindsight really is 20/20. Looking back virtually everything has been shaping me for not only this point in my life, but the future in it's entirety. The ups and downs of my past have refined me to be who I am today, and today is shaping me for tomorrow, or more specifically who I will be in thirty-four days.

Fast forward to February 6, 2013. There will be a tearful goodbye on a snowy curb in Provo, Utah as I officially become a tag-wearing missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deep down I have always known that this day would come, and like I said, growing up it was always a part of the plan. Graduate from high school. Go to college. Graduate from college. Go on a mission. Find a career. Get married. and so forth. And while the others are yet to be fulfilled, I have a funny feeling that they will work out too. 

 So, where in the world might you address your letters over the next 18 months, you ask? 

The Canada Montreal Mission is probably (definitely) a good place for that. 

In case you wanted to know just how excited I am for my new adventure, feel free to watch this youtube video of my mission call opening: 

Thrilled just might be the perfect word to describe it. 

It has been a really emotional decision making process for me. While it was always a part of the plan, it was never so clearly concrete as it was on the morning of September 4th, 2012. I had woken up earlier than usual so I could study my scriptures without being disrupted. In the months leading up to that morning I had quite a handful of wrestling matches with the spirit over praying about going on a mission. After reading my scriptures I was finally feeling ready to accept Heavenly Father's will. I knelt down to pray and instantly felt that I already knew what I needed to do.

"There is time for you, Sydnie" has come to have another meaning for me. Not only do I have time for me, but so does He. That morning I took advantage of His time and together we made a decision. Between the two of us we both knew that there was no reason to keep up Operation Five Plan A's. Though, in retrospect, there has only ever been one plan. His. It's a beautiful thing when we align our will with our Heavenly Father's. The clarity of mind and heart that I have felt since has been so reassuring. I know who I am, and I know what He wants me to do. Finally I don't have to struggle over what I want. I can be happy knowing that obedience to His plan means I don't have to worry anymore. 

So here's to my next adventure. May it be full of new friends, an increase in faith, mild homesickness, freezing temperatures, letters from you, hard work, and charity. 

Sydnie Juniper