8 things i learned because of my lds mission

facebook reminded me that i have now been home from my mission for 3 years. time has just flown since i've been home, but sometimes it feels like i was a missionary in missouri and illinois just yesterday. and there are some lessons that i learned as a missionary that will just never be forgotten. 

1. not everyone will agree with you, and that's okay.
this lesson was so hard for me to learn. i didn't understand why anyone would reject the gospel. IT'S THE HAPPIEST NEWS. but as i continued through my mission, i gained a greater love for people-- even if they didn't agree with me or the gospel. i wish i would have learned this sooner because i spent a lot of time being frustrated that people didn't agree with what we were teaching instead of just loving them anyway.

2. everyone deserves to feel loved. no matter what they've experienced in their lives.
my life has been so, so, so blessed. i met some of the most amazing people who had been through the worst possible things in life and they were searching for love. as a missionary, i was called to represent Jesus Christ and i learned through my mission that even though sometimes these horrible things were brought on by their own actions, if Christ were there, He would have loved them through their hard times, picked them up when they stumbled, and encouraged them to repent and be better-- in the most loving of ways. 

3. there is a fine line between working hard and hardly working.
aka if you're working hard on something that doesn't matter or isn't beneficial, then you're hardly working...

4. taking breaks + self care is IMPORTANT.
i used to think that i could just work through whatever came my way. that keeping my head down and just busting through everything would make things better. i was wrong. sometimes, you just need to take a break. take a nap. take a shower. stop and say a prayer. EAT FOOD. write in your journal. do something that makes you truly happy. you gotta look out for yourself. because you can't be a good missionary if you're overworked and overwhelmed. aka. P-DAY IS IMPORTANT. USE IT WISELY.

5. YOU BE YOU. 
one of my MTC teachers told us that if we weren't being ourselves, then we weren't being the missionaries that God called us to be. God wants YOU. He wants YOUR personality. not 80,000 clones of the picture perfect "cookie cutter" missionary. sure, He gives missionaries rules and standards, but He also gave YOU a personality that will help those YOU come in contact with. 

6. numbers don't matter; people do.
in reality, numbers do matter. because behind every number there's a person who matters. love them. teach them. serve them. help them. let them help you. 

7. "those we see daily are the ones God has given us to love."

8. it's okay to be excited to go home.
i remember feeling an immense amount of guilt because i was so excited to go home. and then a fellow missionary said, "i'm excited to go home because my time is up. i don't feel like i need to extend my mission. i served my time and now it's time for me to go home. and i am excited. sure, i'll miss it here, but i am ready to see my mom again." mic drop. same. RT to save a life. 

i think about my mission often. i think about the people that i taught and was able to to serve with. i miss them and love them. because of them i grew closer to my Savior and Heavenly Father. i learned the principles of the gospel + how to apply them to my life. i learned to love the scriptures. i learned so much as a missionary and i am so grateful for the time i spent in missouri and illinois. it changed my life forever. 

summer reading list; recommendations from friends

every summer i make a goal to read (or listen to) 100 books. i've never been able to complete the goal because of various reasons, but one of the big reasons is that i just haven't ever had enough books to read. i mean obviously there are millions of books out there, but sometimes you just don't know what to read, you know? but this year is different. i've got, as goofy says in an extremely goofy movie, "a yearnin for some learnin." i feel a desire to learn new things and improve. so i asked my friends to share their favorite books with me and then i also spent about three hours researching books and subjects and i decided to share what has been shared with me & what i've found! however, there are so many titles and subjects, i will have to share these in waves! starting with titles shared by friends.

SUGGESTED BY FRIENDS:

Keeping Kyrie
Leadership & Self Deception
Just Mercy
Born a Crime
QB: My Life Behind the Spiral
How Not To Die
Power of Habit
Outwitting the Devil: The Secret Freedom Success
The Richest Man in Babylon
The Compound Effect
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
The Secret
The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
The Gifts of Imperfections
Quitter
The Impossible Takes Longer
Peculiar in a Good Way
The Burnout Cure
Sexual Wholeness in Marriage
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
A Different Beautiful
The Great Divorce
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Yearning for the Living God
The Hiding Place
Outliars: The Story of Success
Man's Search for Meaning
The Anatomy of Peace
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
How Will You Measure Your Life?
Crucial Conversations
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Retire Inspired: It's Not an Age, It's a Financial Number
Daring Greatly
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism
Seabiscuit: An American Legend
The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project
Alaeddin and the Enchanted Lamp
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Best of Lowell L Bennion
The Book Thief
The Character of Jesus
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy's Story of Survival
Christ's Ideal for Living
The Rosie Project
Girl on the Train
The Power of Starting Something Stupid
The Kite Runner
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

do you have any books that you would add to this list? what is your favorite book right now and how has it changed your life? what has it taught you? (maybe i should have been an english teacher like all of my friends suggested as a teenager/missionary....)