Dear Sister Holmes

After countless hours of doctors appointments, dentist appointments, filling out paperwork, and patiently waiting, (like two months waiting...) the beloved white envelope finally found it's way into my mailbox on August 27th. I anxiously waited in front of my window watching for the mailman for a good 30-45 minutes, while he sat on his phone instead of leaving. So, as soon as he pulled away, I ran over there to find the anticipated call sitting in my mailbox!

I invited all my friends and family to be there when I opened it, (which was the next day) and I'm so glad I did. I honestly was SO NERVOUS to open the dang thing. Like, to the point I actually didn't want to and instead just tell everyone to go home. But don't worry, I opened it. 

I was overwhelmed with love and support on my call, and it calmed my nervous tremendously. 


ps- the song Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong UNITED (the song used in the video) is my favorite. It is such an incredible song, and really gets my spiritual blood pumpin. haha So, you're welcome. 
You can listen to the full song here.


I'm huge on surprises. I love to be surprised, I love surprising people, I love watching people be surprised, but let me tell ya. This surprise was a hard one to keep on the DL! I mean, it's HUGE! I had this grand plan to get all creative and fun and tell my parents with a little present. I had t-shirts being made that I had spent a ridiculous amount of time making and probably too much money (thank you slow days at work), and had the whole situation planned out. I was going to film it so I could always watch their reactions and remember the emotion of it. But, we all know some plans just don't work out.

It was Memorial weekend, and the annual camping trip in my grandparents backyard/magic land (seriously the greatest place on earth) was taking place. I had come straight from work on Saturday with all my campin gear, and was attacked by the hugs of little cousins and playful giggles, stories of their day and warm greetings from my family. I went and played "bad guys" with the cute kiddos while everyone else got dinner ready. My uncle called us over for the annual picture scavenger hunt, which very quickly reminds me of how out of shape I am EVERY. TIME. He had taken pictures of random things on the property and printed them out. We had to look at the picture, find the object, take a picture, run back and pass it off to get our next one. It is so much fun, and so exhausting! I was teamed up with my awesome cousin Avi, and the cutest little tag along, Kendall. We ran, and ran... and ran.. and ran.. and finally got a break for dinner. Thank goodness, I was dying. We mingled, had some more family show up, and began to clean up. My dad had asked me earlier to do a little announcement for him for a medal him and my brother won at a tennis tournament, and I just knew I had to make my announcement with it too.

 My Plan = Big change.

Everyone gathered around, cheers and laughs here and there as my dad was telling the story. Then I got everyone's attention one more time. I had my sister film it, wanting to keep this moment with me forever. My heart was pounding and the spirit was so strong!

"I'm going on a mission."

Tears, hugs, a TOTALLY shocked dad, and excitement burst into our little campsite! It was seriously one of the best moments of my life. And guess what, the video accidentally got deleted. Yes there may have been tears on my end about that... I so wish I could share it, watch it, and relive it over and over and over again. But, the memories will have to do. Oh, and my little scavenger team ended up winning. BOO YA! Bragging rights for the next year.

The mission topic was brought up several times throughout the weekend with questions, and stories, and hugs. I loved it! And with it being Memorial Weekend, we went to visit some graves, one being my sweet, sweet Great Grandma D, and I could feel her there, and how proud she was of me. I wish I could explain it, but just know my heart was beyond full. (ps- come to find out... she sent many Book of Mormons to Tallahassee with her testimony written in them! Go figure!)

So we head to my mom's to finish off the weekend. We get there and talk a little. I handed her the t-shirt design on paper and asked her to look at it. When she finally understood what it meant (it took her a little bit) she sat there, totally shocked. No words for about ten minutes. It wasn't quite the reaction I was expecting, but so funny. I couldn't tell if she was happy, or sad, or mad, or excited, and I got a little nervous! I ran over to my other grandparent's house to tell them the news, hoping it would sink in with my mom a little bit. And it did. She was excited! Super surprised and caught off guard, but so so excited.
We ended up going to breakfast at Jeremiahs like we do every year, and to a movie afterward, and a mission was a popular topic.

Needless to say, Memorial Weekend of 2014 was an amazing one, full of so much love and support. It made me that much more excited and sure about my decision! And yes... my mom and dad eventually both got their shirts that were from plan A. Thank you O'shirts Screen Printing. 

Oh, and I leave in exactly a month... TIME NEEDS TO SLOW DOWN.

Heartache and Hope

At the beginning of November in 2013, I sat in my bedroom putting away laundry. It was a good day, I suppose. Nothing exciting had happened, nothing special, but it was good. My brother knocked on my door and came in. "Mom wants to talk to us."

You know when your gut somehow knows when something bad is going to happen? As soon as I heard those words I got sick. These weren't uncommon words, it was a sentence I had heard countless times. So why did I feel this way? I slowly walked up the stairs to find both my parents sitting on the couch, and the rest of my siblings sitting throughout the living room. I took a seat next to my little sister on the floor against the wall, and began to listen.

I began listening to something I had feared for a long time. Something I thought would never actually happen. Something I had hoped to never understand or experience. Sobs became a background noise as I fell into a hole of emotion. Maybe I felt sick because buried in my heart I knew it would happen. Maybe I felt that way to prepare for heartache. Either way, I entered into a world of pain and anger; confusion and a sense of responsibility for my siblings.

It's not something I like to talk about, and I don't very often. It's still a hard topic and I'm still learning to adjust, but it has impacted my life and because of that I would like to share my journey of heartache and hope.

"The effects of divorce unquestionably can be damaging, but they do not need to be crippling. You can overcome the pain and suffering, though you may feel the situation has been devastating. You can regroup, learn, and grow." - Children of Divorce By Elaine Walton

Days were spent in my room, alone. I didn't want to be around anyone, I didn't want to talk to anybody, and I especially didn't want to look at my parents. I felt like I had no where to go. Each one of my friends lived thousands of miles away, spread out among the world. My family was an uncomfortable option, and my siblings...  I wanted to be with my siblings, tell them it would be okay, but I couldn't. I didn't have the strength, and I didn't even know for myself if it would all work out. I wanted to be strong for them, but I couldn't find it in me. I was numb, I was angry, and I was lost. I didn't want to attend family parties in fear that they would ask how I was. I didn't want to leave the house in fear I would run into someone who would ask how the family was doing, not knowing of the current situation. So, I silently stayed in my room, coming out for short amounts of time and for specific things. I knew I had two options. I could either take a negative path, or a positive one. And I'm proud to say that I chose the positive. Here, in my darkest time, my Heavenly Father became my best friend.

Days seemed like lifetimes as I waited for the sun to fall onto the horizon. I waited for the moment I could go to sleep. The moment I could escape reality and enter a world of peace and oblivion. I wished that maybe my reality was a dream, and that I'd wake up and realize that all was right once again. But without fail, morning came again, and I was woken up to the harsh reality that things were never going to be the same.

Luckily I had an amazing bishop who was concerned and helped me immensely. He gave me amazing council, and answered many questions that I had. He understood, and he became my go to guy. I was so concerned about my eternal family. How does divorce actually work? I had family members who had been through it, but now that I was experiencing it first hand, I was afraid. I was the oldest of four kids, and I felt a glimpse of parental love for them. They became my number one concern, and I needed to help myself before I could help them.

I prayed, I studied, and somehow I climbed the hill of emotion; dug my way out of a deep, dark hole. I had love pouring out all around me. Texts flew in from cousins, aunts, uncles, my grandparents. My missionaries gave me amazing spiritual council, and hope began filling my soul.

In the talk Children of Divorce  by Elaine Walton that I quoted previously, she goes on to list steps of healing.

"Trust in the Lord. Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us in a very personal way, and His divine plan includes a way for us to overcome the effects of opposition and enjoy eternal blessings. There is great wisdom in the Lord’s counsel to the Prophet Joseph Smith during a time of severe persecution: “Be still and know that I am God” (D&C 101:16; see D&C 101:12–18). Talk to your Church leaders and close friends about their relationship to God. Read the scriptures and words of the Brethren, pondering and praying sincerely. Reread your patriarchal blessing, remembering that the Lord has great blessings in store for you. Exercise and increase your faith in God and in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Develop trust in friends and family. Your trust in a divine plan can generate trust in those around you who may be less than perfect yet are children of God. Through Christlike charity, we can learn to love people despite some imperfections. There is no comfort in freedom from heartache gained at the cost of freedom from loving others. Trust and disappointment are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Forgive your parents. Don’t let your parents’ mistakes be your excuses for error. Don’t be misled by barren statistics; for every child who followed the path of a misguided parent, you can find one who didn’t, going all the way back to Abraham, whose father was willing to see him sacrificed to an idol (see Abr. 1:5–7).
Repent of your own wrongdoings and forgive yourself. If you grew up in a home where people were hurt, you may have picked up some harmful behaviors and caused pain to others. You can repent of this once you come to understand your mistakes. The needed repentance for such mistakes is not so much about assignment of blame or self-flagellation as it is about making amends for the hurt, where possible.

Learn to choose. Your individual accountability and agency empower you to choose, and you need not be imprisoned by damaging family patterns or relationships. You have the right to say no to manipulation or degradation, and it is not your responsibility to keep everyone happy, particularly if they are determined to persist in unproductive or morally unacceptable behavior. When divorce has occurred, find in the new family structure a way of developing healthier and more enjoyable traditions and patterns for your own life and the family you will create by marriage.

Acquire new interpersonal skills. Taking charge of your life is one of many skills such as communication, joint problem solving, and conflict resolution that are learned, not inherited. Don’t be afraid to take a class, attend a seminar, or seek counseling to develop more effective and rewarding interpersonal relationships. But be careful; the training process in acquiring new skills should fit comfortably within the guidelines of the Church. Be in tune with the promptings of the Holy Ghost to know if the schooling and counseling you are receiving are appropriate. In fact, there is no better schooling than the guidance of that still, small voice as you try prayerfully and lovingly to apply the teachings of the Master in your interactions with others.

Identify compensating factors in your life. Every family has strengths. Every environment has supportive resources. Instead of focusing only on losses or problems, find out what is good about your family and what resources are available to you. For example, let yourself be open to receiving help and comfort from extended family members or friends who may be uniquely qualified as mentors. After spending time with an aunt and uncle who were obviously happy, one young woman realized for the first time that a happy marriage is possible. She said, “Somebody in my family actually pulled it off!”

The Promised Hope

Faithful Latter-day Saints are not disadvantaged eternally because of their parents’ missteps. President Ezra Taft Benson’s promise to a family of divorce makes that abundantly clear: “Please note that a cancellation of sealing of a wife to her husband does not affect children born in the covenant or previously sealed. Such children are entitled to birthright blessings, and if they remain worthy, are assured the right and privilege of eternal parentage regardless of what happens to their natural parents or the parents to whom they were sealed.” 7

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles underscores that promise: “I testify that with unimaginable suffering and agony at an incalculable price, the Savior earned His right to be our Intermediary, our Redeemer, our Final Judge. Through faith in Him and receipt of the requisite ordinances and covenants, you will earn your right to the blessings of eternal marriage made possible through His infinite Atonement.” 8
Children of Divorce By Elaine Walton     

Silly things would make me emotional. Movies with divorced parents, seeing an old family friend who didn't know yet, hearing the song Families can be Together Forever, memories, simple things that never bothered me were now things I tried to avoid. Family pictures, home videos, knowing we wouldn't be all together very often, and when we were it wouldn't be the same.

I've had to cope, adjust, and learn in a whole new way. New houses, new routines, new everything. It's been hard, but I've had to keep in mind that the Lord has a bigger plan, He knows my pain, and He knows how to heal.

PC - Mark Mabry - Reflections of Christ
"Our Savior knows the heart of each of us. He knows the pains of our hearts. If we seek the truth, develop faith in Him, and, if necessary, sincerely repent, we will receive a spiritual change of heart which only comes from our Savior. Our hearts will become new again.

As we put our faith and trust in the Lord, we must battle our pain day by day and sometimes hour by hour, even moment by moment; but in the end, we understand that marvelous counsel given to the Prophet Joseph Smith as he struggled with his pain of feeling forgotten and isolated in Liberty Jail:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (D&C 121:7–8).

My dear brothers and sisters, when pain, tests, and trials come in life, draw near to the Savior. “Wait upon the Lord, … look for him” (Isa. 8:17; 2 Ne. 18:17). “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31). Healing comes in the Lord’s time and the Lord’s way; be patient.

Our Savior waits for us to come to Him through our scripture study, pondering, and prayer to our Heavenly Father. Great blessings and lessons come from overcoming adversity. As we are strengthened and healed, we can then lift and strengthen others with our faith. May we be instruments in the Lord’s hands in blessing the lives of those in pain. I give you my testimony that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ and that He waits for us to come to Him to give us counsel and compassionate caring. May the Lord’s blessings be upon each of us as we deal with the trials of life for us personally and for our loved ones..." Robert D. Hales, Healing Soul and Body

I'm grateful for my knowledge of the atonement. It's not just for mistakes. It's for heartaches, pain, and healing. It's for comfort and guidance. If the gospel was not in my life, who knows if I still would have chosen the positive path, the one full of hope and love.

With that said, I am very grateful for both of my parents. I know they are doing what they feel is best, and I respect that. It's not easy for us, but I know it's not easy for them either. We will always be a family, just a family with a difference.

Like my previous post, timing is everything. Leaving on a mission was a hard decision to come to terms with knowing that things are still changing, my family is still adjusting, and that I wouldn't be here for my siblings. But I know the Lord has a plan for me and them, that there is someone, somewhere in the world that needs to hear about the gospel from me. If I needed to be home with my family, then that's what I would do. But there's so many other puzzles pieces that I haven't seen yet, that I don't know even exist in this big picture. What I do know, is that this puzzle piece, this choice, is the perfect fit for this moment. Maybe I can't understand why right now, but I have faith in my Heavenly Father, and I am grateful for the trials that become lessons and strength. 

Revelation is a Reality

"The familiar observation that "timing is everything" surely overstates the point, but timing is vital.

We read in Ecclesiastes:

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

"A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;...

"A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

"...A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;...

"...A time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Eccl. 3:1-2,4-5,7)

In all the important decisions in our lives, what is most important is to do the right thing. Second, and only slightly behind the first, is to do the right thing at the right time." Dallin H. Oaks, Timing, Oct 2003.

When I was little, I would listen to a CD full of primary songs when I went to bed at night. I looked forward to it. It comforted me.  The songs would softly float in the atmosphere, gently soothing me to sleep. I loved the song I Hope They Call Me On A Mission. I always felt something in my heart that was different than when the other songs would play. It intrigued me, and I always wished it would play one more time before moving onto the next. At the time, I don't think I really knew that Sisters could serve, or at least I was too young to really understand. But the song made me happy, and the words would continually touch my little heart.

As the years passed, the thought of a mission wandered aimlessly throughout my mind. The thought of young adults getting sent around the world to spread the Light of Christ was so exciting. I loved seeing the Elders and Sisters walking around, and I always thought that maybe that could be me if my circumstances allowed. I loved picturing my boys (friends) in a shirt and tie with that special little badge on their chest, and I looked forward to the day it was their turn.

The point of my life when the missionary age change was made would have been the perfect time for me to serve. I was 19,  my friends were all serving, I wasn't attending school, and I only worked part time. There was nothing keeping me from serving, but I wasn't supposed to. Not then. So I attended many Institute classes which I loved. I wrote my missionary friends religiously, and that was that.

Every now and then I would have a fleeting thought of serving, but I would push it aside. It made me nervous. I was content with my life the way it was. So I forgot about it. That is until another thought would find it's way into my head. I knew I should pray about it, but I never did. I didn't want to. It wasn't something that I really wanted anymore.

Time flew really fast. Friends were preparing to return home from their missions, and I hadn't even given a mission a second thought. November found it's way into the year, and my family was hit with a life changing trial. At this point I knew there really was no way I could go. I needed to stay home, I needed to be with my siblings, and I definitely couldn't just leave. Struggling to adjust, I continually turned to my Heavenly Father. I knew things happened for a reason, but it was hard to get that to settle in. After a few months, I decided to serve a mission. All in the middle of family trials, friends returning, and other things. But why? Why now?

In the talk In His Own Time, in His Own Way by Elder Dallin H. Oaks it states, "Revelation is a reality. It comes in the Lord's way and according to His own timetable... We will get promptings of the Spirit when we have done everything we can, when we are out in the sun working rather than sitting back in the shade praying for direction on the first step to take. Revelation comes when the children of God are on the move. So we do all we can. Then we wait upon the Lord for His revelation. He has his own timetable... In most cases, "His own way" is not the thunderous interruption or the blinding light but what the scriptures call the "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12; 1 Nephi 17:45; D&C 85:6)... We need to know that the Lord rarely speaks loudly. His messages almost always come in a whisper... "Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. "Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation" (D&C 8:2-3; emphasis added). We should understand that the Lord will speak to us in His own time and in His own way."

This is something that I have tried really hard to work on. Trusting in the Lord's timing. He has a plan greater than we can comprehend, and we need to have faith in Him, in His plan, and in His timing.

Sure, I could have gone right as the mission age change had been made, and I'm sure I would have taught many incredible people. I would have been preparing to return home by now, been able to see my friends as they began to come home, but the Lord knew I needed to wait. Maybe it was to be home with my family during the hard time, maybe it was to prepare myself more, and maybe not. Maybe I don't know the reason yet, but what I do know is that the Lord knows what He's doing, and if I trust in His timing, and have faith in His plan, I will be blessed.


"The most important principle of timing is to take the long view. Mortality is just a small slice of eternity, but how we conduct ourselves here--what we become by our actions and desires, confirmed by our covenants and the ordinances administered to us by proper authority-will shape our destiny for all eternity." -Dallin H. Oaks, The Right Thing at the Right Time.

When You Know, You Know

We've all heard that saying at one point or another, usually related to relationships, and I've always believed it. I believed that when somebody found their significant other, they just knew. People can’t explain it, they can’t make you understand what that really means, but you can tell that they truly do just KNOW. Although I always believed, I never expected to find out what it felt like in the way that I did. And no, it wasn't with a significant other; I found out with my significant calling.

It was a slow Thursday at work. I’m sitting on the stool behind the counter, looking at the blue sky on the other side of the window. Oh, how I wished I could be soaking up the sunshine that was out there! No one had come in for a few hours, making each minute that passed seem like a lifetime. My mind was clear, which was unusual because I was usually drowning in my own thoughts. I closed my eyes for a brief moment, taking a deep breath, telling myself I could get through this day. That’s when it happened. It was a moment that changed my life. It was unexpected, and terrifying; so clear and so humbling. The words struck the deepest part of my soul, and my eyes clouded over with tears.

“It’s time to serve a mission.”


Back in 2012 I sat in my basement all alone watching the Fall session of General Conference, the rest of my family scattered throughout the house listening. I had closed the door and was wrapped up in a blanket with my journal and pen in hand. The announcements had always been one of my favorite parts of conference. New temples, new leaders, the sight of the church growing, I loved it! President Monson began, “I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of 19…” Excitement and shock rushed through my veins. Those were my friends he was talking about! This was my age group of boys! We had just graduated high school a few months prior to the session, and they could leave right now! With the adrenaline and excitement I was feeling for my boys, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind that the young women might be in this age change too. President Monson continued, “As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.”

I froze.

In the middle of high school I had had the thought that a mission was something I wanted to do. If it was the right thing for me by the time I was 21, I would go. Missionary work intrigued me.  It was something exciting to think about and to talk about. Then the age change was made, and I wasn't so sure anymore. I could put my papers in. I could serve a mission RIGHT NOW. Life got real, and it got real, real quick.

Many girls I knew had called their bishops right then and there, some the day after. They KNEW. But I did not, and it bothered me. I had always planned on it, but now that it was here? It was a huge thing! Do I register for school? Do I not? Do I put my papers in? Do I stay? I prayed and prayed and prayed. I don’t think I had ever prayed so much in my life. And you know what? I never got an answer. This caused me to stress out big time. I mean, registering for college is kind of a big deal. You've got to get it done soon if you wanted to get into the classes you needed. I had to know! I talked with my bishop and one of my closest Institute teachers as to why I wasn't receiving an answer.  They gave me amazing council and kept reminding me that the Lord’s timing is what matters. I just had to be patient. Much easier said than done…

Life went on, I attended Institute, made the greatest friends, began attending the singles ward, and I knew that I wasn't supposed to serve a mission. My answer came, slowly, but surely. My dad and grandpa would always say “When you get your call…” Or “When you turn in your papers…” or “You’re going to serve here…” and at times it would really bother me. I had previous bishops, family friends, random people that would say “Lex! I thought of you specifically as soon as they made the announcement!” How was I supposed to tell them I wasn't supposed to serve? That maybe my mission was here at home? And then the flood of young adults began to leave. One farewell after the other, elder, sister, elder, sister, and all my friends had gone. There I was, stuck in life, not knowing what to do next. I wasn't huge on school, so I worked, floating in limbo.

Fast forward almost two years. I would write my missionary boys every week. Email after email flying into my inbox. Monday’s had become my favorite day of the week. I could just hear how happy they were, how much they had grown, how much they loved, and it inspired me. I would feel every emotion through those emails. I’d laugh out loud, shed some tears, miss them to the point it hurt, and be oh so happy for them all at the same time.  Their stories were amazing, the work they were doing was beyond incredible. The topic of a mission had floated around conversations, and I never was able to tell them I was going. And they respected that! They knew I had a purpose where I was in what I was doing.


So there I was at work, on a slow Thursday. Those words flying into my thoughts like I had just been hit with a brick. Every emotion ran through me in the matter of seconds. I didn't think it was possible, but I’m here to tell you right now, it most definitely is. I prayed right then and there, in my empty little store. I didn't even get all the way through my prayer, and the most comforting feeling overcame me. This was it. This was what I was supposed to do. I quickly set up an appointment with my bishop for Sunday. It was the longest three days of my life. Nobody knew except for me and my sweet Heavenly Father. Not only was it the longest few days of my life, but it was an emotional roller coaster too.

My family was going through some really tough things, and I didn't feel like I could just leave. Right now wasn't a good time to do that, but the thought of serving had never seemed so right. And like two years before, I had to remind myself that my timing isn't what mattered. The Lord knows what I need, what the people I’ll be serving need, and what my family needs. If I was supposed to be here with them, I would be. Not only that, but my friends had started coming home! Leaving right as they were all preparing to come home really hurt me. I had missed them more than I could ever explain. The thought of not seeing them for another year and a half was just something I had to push out of my mind. But staying home was not in the grand plan. I needed to be somewhere else, showing people the love their Savior has for them.

Finally, Sunday rolled around. I woke up, got ready, and headed straight to the church, praying the whole way there I wouldn't chicken out. I know I know, bad, but I seriously was in full panic mode. It was the greatest meeting I had ever been to though. I could see my Savior in my bishop's eyes, I could feel His love. I had every bit of excitement the universe could put into the little atmosphere of the bishop’s office. We laughed and we cried, and my journey began. I had never felt so sure, so confident about anything in my entire life. It was liberating! When I told my bishop my story about the Thursday at work, the first thing he said was “You know it’s the right decision when aren't doing anything and the words are spoken.” And that’s when I realized, I just knew.