Musings From McKann

There have been so many different things that have been on my mind in the past few months.

Of course, there’s going to be somewhat of a transition coming home from a mission. But, if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t really feel like it was hard at ALL to come home. I wasn’t awkward (any more than I just already was as a person anyway). I wasn’t freaked out by the real world. I didn’t just always want to do church stuff. I didn’t keep waking up at 6:30 am and going to bed by 10:30 pm. I just didn’t have a hard time returning back to “normal” life.

There’s probably a few reasons for this. But the two that have been the most prominent to me are that, first of all, I’ve never had a hard time with transitions. I couldn’t really tell you why that is. It’s just never been a hard thing. Change is constant, and it is inevitable. So why not enjoy it? And, second of all, I just knew that eventually, my mission would end. And whether that would be a great thing, a horrible thing, or somewhere in between… it was a fact. I accepted that fact the second that I accepted the idea that I would serve.

But, in the midst of all this “not-so-difficult-transition” period, I have had so many wonderful moments of reflection and pensiveness. I feel that one of the great blessings that came from serving a mission and dedicating such an extended period of time to any one activity (let alone such a great a work as sharing the Gospel), is that it seems as though my mind has just gained a greater capacity. It really seems like I’ve been able to think about things more clearly, and with broader perspective than ever before.

Some thoughts, for example:

>>We really don’t understand our potential a lot of the time. I have thought so much about this! We are literally sons and daughters of an omniscient being; an Almighty God. How phenomenal! Do we really believe that? Do we really understand that we have divine DNA? I think that there are moments where we understand this. For me, I feel that when I have total clarity in my mind about a specific subject or issue that I’ve been pondering. It’s almost like I feel like I can see something from beginning to end in a spiritual sense. I don’t necessarily know all the details in the situation, but I can feel peace about it and I understand my role in a situation. There is so much power when we understand our divine heritage.

>>In general, we have expectations for what we want. We have these “ideals” that we’ve set in place of how we want to be treated, or what we want to happen in our lives. But because of a number of different influences (self doubt, culture, social pressures, etc.), we don’t act in harmony with what those desires are. A simple example? Everyone likes to feel loved and appreciated. But for some reason it is seen as awkward or “too forward” when we tell people things we admire about them. I have had so many times where I have debated giving someone a sincere compliment because I didn’t want it to be taken the wrong way. Another example is similar but one that I’ve thought about a lot. Think about just about everyone you know who has criteria for marriage that’s anything similar to “I want to marry my best friend.” I’m sure we’ve all heard someone say this. In fact, I think this is something that most of us say ourselves! But then, when it comes down to it, we won’t date our best friends. Instead we play silly mind games that make dating difficult and discouraging. What stops us from dating our best friends? Social pressures and culture, mostly. And that can be really unfortunate, I think.

>>God answers small prayers. Seriously! That’s one of those things you kind of just have to test out. But I had the simplest experience the other day. I asked Heavenly Father for something that I even classified to Him as “silly.” It was a sincere request, but it felt silly even asking for it. In the clearest, most deliberate way, that simple,”silly” prayer was answered.

>>This world is such a beautiful one and we are so blessed to live on earth. Even the fact that we have oxygen to breathe is a miracle in and of itself. But I’ve spent some time up in the mountains skiing recently, and even if the snow conditions are less than ideal for skiing, I find myself sitting on the lift just in awe and the majesty that is all around me–the divinely handcrafted beauty that I get to intake just because. The beauties of nature aren’t really a necessity for our salvation. But they are definitely a consistent reminder to me of my Supreme Creator and His magnificence.

>>I love people. So much. I think if I could just take weeks and weeks to talk with individuals and learn more about them and what makes them tick, I would never get bored. There have been a few people recently that I’ve been blessed to get to know more personally. And like anything else, the more I know, the less I realize I know. I learn more details about their lives and what makes them who they are… and then, undoubtedly, I leave those conversations with a thirst and a desire to ask more questions and intake more information. And, quite honestly, I think that comes from really caring about those people. People are amazingly fascinating. When you find those people that you just want to learn more and more about, hold onto them for a little while. They aren’t commonplace.

>>I am so blessed. I really am. I think about that on a daily basis.

… And I honestly don’t know where that was all going too much, other than the fact that I haven’t written in a while. And I’ve had some thoughts. And I haven’t put them into formulated sentences.

I guess to sum things up, the past three months have been an adventure. I sometimes wonder if I ever served a mission because it feels like I’ve been home for a LIFETIME. I’ve learned and grown immensely in such a short time–something I definitely did not anticipate before making it home.

Life is so good, folks. Remember that. And more importantly, BELIEVE IT.

Musings From McKann

Back in the 801.

Everyone. It is so good to be back. Of course, I’m definitely missing Pennsylvania something awful. But, I have had such a great few weeks getting home and being able to spend time with family and friends. Much has changed, but there is an undeniable familiarity and sense of home that comes from being, well, home. I have felt the spirit so strongly as I have continued to seek after good things and I have been so grateful for the small, delicate witnesses of the Lord’s love and awareness for me as I have made this transition back to civilian life. There will be things that will be weird to get used to for quite some time to come, I’m sure. But I have been grateful that my transition has been about as smooth-sailing as I ever could’ve imagined. I’m excited to be back in a position where I can blog about whatever I darn well please and hopefully share some goodness in this world.

Love yinz. Keep it classy.

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Back in the 801.

Is This Real Life?

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I’m blown away. It seems like time likes to slap me in the face a little bit. It plays cruel tricks. Like bringing some of my friends back only a week before I have to leave. Not ideal timing if you ask me. But I can’t express how grateful I am that it happened, no matter how short of time we’ve had together.

For the past week, Alex, Travis, Michael, Connor, and I have been hanging out nearly every day. It’s been great. But tonight was the greatest.

We spontaneously drove up to Salt Lake. We went to the Cheesecake Factory. We sprinted through an empty City Creek trying to catch the carriage ride. We walked all the way around Temple Square. We met some people who took our picture. We drove all around the winding roads near the University of Utah’s campus. We talked about lots of stuff. We drove up by the Draper Temple. We took the back way home. We stopped and stared at the view. We stuck our heads out of the sunroof, even though it was bitterly cold. We listened to good music. We found the prettiest view around here you could even imagine.  We drove home safely. We hugged goodbye. We spent moments together that I really am never going to forget.

I can’t imagine a more perfect night with better people. I’m so glad that’s how I spent my last night before getting set apart. But I will say, it’s not making it much easier to leave now. Kind of a bittersweet moment.

Love you kids.

Mission stuff will be posted tomorrow.

TTFN.

Is This Real Life?

Last Friday.

Well, it’s currently my last Friday night of pre-mission life. I’m supposed to be studying. Instead, Rachel and I are sitting in my living room listening to Ed Sheeran, drinking Mt. Dew, listening to ridiculous things Brenner says, and eating cupcakes. Part of me thinks that I might regret not studying when  I get a terrible grade on my marketing test. But another part of me thinks that I would regret it a whole lot more if I was to just study and not spend time with anyone before I leave because it’s going to be people not papers that matter when I’m out there.. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

I’m so grateful for everyone who has been offering to help out or who has been helping. I am so sorry if I have been neglecting anyone’s willingness to help. It’s been so busy. But I have been overwhelmed with love and support by everyone and I apologize if I haven’t been able to show it back as much! I promise that you’re all in my thoughts and prayers and I am so thankful.

It’s getting close, kids. 8:00 pm on Tuesday I’ll be set apart as a missionary. Does it feel real? Do I feel ready? No. Not really. But it’s going to come regardless. So I’m diving in. Bring it on.

Last Friday.

Well, Since You Asked.

I’m going to take a minute and do a bit of a selfish post.
First, let me just say that this isn’t easy for me. I’m fairly independent and I don’t like to ask for things, let alone admit that I need help. But after a great weekend of General Conference, I have been humbled. And no matter how silly it seems, I’ve been humbled to realize that I simply just don’t have enough time in the next 16 days to get everything done that I need to get done on my own.

A lot of people keep saying things to me like “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!” or “If  you need help preparing for your mission, I can help you!” and other kind and generous offers. It’s really sweet that so many are willing to help. But in the reality of it all, “help” is such a broad thing that when I’m up to my ears in things to do, it makes it seem like another task to complete to think of something for someone to do. I know that sounds kind of backwards and non-progressive, but that’s the best way I can explain it.

I decided to make a list of a few things that people can do that will actually help me prepare in the next two and a half weeks.

  • HELP ME STUDY
    Now, this may seem silly. Especially since you might think there’s no way you can help me study because  I just need to do it on my own. But you know when you have SO much to do that you seriously just don’t do any of it? I’m kind of at that point. I really need to run for the roses and kick it into gear, but motivation for school work is at an all time low. I’m currently taking Church History from Susan Easton Black, Living Prophets, Marketing Management, and Advertising. The two I need the most help in are Church History and Marketing Management. It’s not that I don’t understand things–I legitimately need people to say “I can study this time, this time, and this time. Which one works for you?” and then let me figure out which one works. It’ll force me to do it and it will give me motivation to actually study. I know. I sound like a baby that needs coddling. But… At this point….
  • GIVE ME INSIGHTS
    There are a few things that I need some inspiration/knowledge/enlightenment on. My farewell topic is to “relate my thoughts to the Restoration.” I’m not sure what I want to do with it. So any thoughts or insights that you have relating to that would actually help me a lot. I’m going to complete my finals and have my farewell the next day so my time for focusing on the content of that is extremely limited. Also, if you plan on following my adventures in Pennsylvania, I’d love to hear how you think is best for that. Email list? Blog? Something else? What works best? Aaaaand if you have seen or know of any places to purchase the following items, I’d love to hear it: luggage, blouses, skirts, cardigans, scarves, sturdy shoes, winter boots, toiletry carrying case, and any other missionary items that you can think of.
  • SING TO ME
    Okay, not really. But I’m looking for good missionary music. If you have any appropriate CD’s or artists that you’d let me burn onto a CD or put onto a flash drive, that would be awesome. I want to have good music so badly! But I don’t know how much time I will have for that.
  • THINK OF STUFF
    Honestly, I’m practically a basket case at the moment. If you ask me if there’s something you can do that will probably just grind my gears a little bit because I probably don’t know. But, if you think of something that you could ASK me about instead, that would take off so much stress. For example, “Hey McKann, do you have your pedigree chart done yet? No? Great, I know how to do it. Can I help you? I’m available these times: ______.” <—— Ask me how much I want that exact example to happen…. A LOT.
  • PLAY WITH ME
    I’ll be honest. The thing I am stressed about the most is that I’m leaving behind a lot of people I love for two years. I am not worried about leaving my family (sorry guys). But my friends are a huge part of my life that aren’t set in stone. I’d like to think that I can just leave for eighteen months and I’m going to come back and everyone will still just be at their exact same spot in life and I won’t have missed anything and nobody will have changed… But that’s simply just not the case. I can’t say that I’m feeling like there’s a bajillion people I vitally need to spend time with before I leave, but there’s definitely a handful. I really do want to see you and spend time with you! But the same principle applies here that if you say “Oh my heck we HAVE to do [some specific activity] before you leave!!!!” and then when I ask you when you just say “Just soon because you’re leaving soon!” I’m probably going to not be super happy because you’re telling me pretty much the only thing I already know: I’M LEAVING SOON. Tight schedule, kids. But if I love you, we can pencil it in. 🙂
  • GIMME YO DIGITS
    And by digits, I mean address. I would love to stay in contact. But it’s going to be hard for me to remember to get everyone’s contact info before I leave (just being honest). So if you give me your address  or email (because missionaries can email!!!) then I will be way more likely to write you and keep in touch. I really want to! Sincerely.
  • CUT ME A BREAK
    Okay. I realize that I’m not perfect. And I’m trying really hard to be sugar and spice and everything nice before I leave but I’m honestly super stressed. Sometimes I’m more stressed than I realize and I take it out in dumb arguments over nothing. Neither of us want that to be our last memory of each other for the next year and a half. Try to be patient with me. That would really help a ton. And if I’m wrong in an argument just drop it and we can readdress it in 18 months. Deal? Awesome.
  • COME TO MY FAREWELL
    Seriously, I just want to see people there. I want to say goodbye, as much as it sucks.

Also, just because those headings were in all caps doesn’t mean I was shouting them. I just like formatting stuff. So deal with it. 🙂 But really. I would love help, and I appreciate all the offers. Hopefully this doesn’t come off too self centered. If anything, it’s a reference for me so that when people ask I can just pull up this post and not have to put too much of my brain into it.

Love you all. You’re the best.

Well, Since You Asked.

Sunday Night Ponderings.

There’s been a lot on my mind as of late. All sorts of different emotions and all sorts of different things to be thinking about. It feels like sometimes we fail to take the time to just feel certain ways. We so quickly seek to change things and are constantly moving between one emotion to the next, especially when pertaining to negative things. I believe that there is so much potential for healing when we allow ourselves to truly BE a certain way, and FEEL different emotions. There is so much to be learned from experiences and earthly trials and woes, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

I was talking to some friends tonight about happiness and what it means in this life. I’m not sure how we got to it but I had a very distinct realization that there is something to be said for this earthly life. I realize that the end goal is exaltation and that essentially we are just here to be able to return back to our Father in Heaven, but I actually like earthly life. President Hinckley said “Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” I agree with that 100%. But the peculiar thing about me is that I enjoy hard things. I guess “enjoy” is kind of a generous word. But I thrive from overcoming obstacles. I am energized by knowing I can beat a hard time. I enjoy being triumphant through a dark patch.

Along with that, there is so much good in the world. I can’t even believe it. And, since I love making lists, I am going to give you a list of a few things I’ve been loving in my world lately:

-I love the weather. Rain, snow, sunshine. Bring it on. It’s all grand.
-Rachel has a cute family and I love that they include me so much. It’s such a blessing and I don’t think they will ever realize how much it has affected me!
-I know a lot of incredible people. I’m still amazed that there could possibly be more people that are as cool as the ones I currently know. People keep surprising me.
-I am so impressed with Imagine Dragons. I went to the concert on Friday and I am so proud of them for maintaining their standards and being such an example of good in this world, especially in the music industry that can be so corrupt.
-I am leaving on a mission in exactly one month. Yes, it is terrifying. But it is also very exciting and crazy and every other emotion!
-My sisters and dad are so cool and I love hanging out with them.
-My dad is awesome and has lost 20 pounds in like two weeks. Whaaaat?! Eligible bachelor right there. 😉
-I wasn’t feeling well today and like four people came to visit me and brought me food. That is so awesome. People are good.
-I love Easter candy. Mostly Cadbury mini eggs and Reese’s eggs. I don’t even like Reese’s that much, but those little eggs are just so freakin’ good.
-I love the temple. It is such an amazing place. I’m really going to miss it for 18 months.
-Life is crazy and weird and awesome and great.

Love you kids. Thanks for being stellar.

Sunday Night Ponderings.

Stand Ye in Holy Places.

This weekend was Stake Conference for my YSA stake. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to the evening adult session on Saturday night, but I was able to attend the Sunday morning address. I am so glad I did. Instead of writing about it, I decided I want to share my notes exactly as I wrote them.

STAKE CONFERENCE
Sunday, March 10th

STAND YE IN HOLY PLACES AND BE NOT MOVED.

President Ford

Other places can become holy places.

“Beyond the temple the most sacred and holy places should be your dwelling places.”

MAKE WHEREVER YOU ARE A HOLY PLACE.

President Fillmore

Just because we cannot see the danger, we minimize the warning that is given to us.

“You will not make a major mistake without first being warned by the prompting of the Holy Ghost.”

I hold the keys to unlock the prison doors from the inside.

Stand in places that we can listen to the Holy Ghost.

ACCEPT the Atonement.

Elder Munday

Calls are never convenient.

You know enough. The rest will come.

When we serve, the Lord goes before us. He will be on our right hand and on our left and He will bear us up.

I want to be on the Lord’s side.

If you’re good, they become good. And if you’re bad, likewise.

Some things you learn at school, and some things you only only learn from Heaven.

Be EXEMPLARY.

“It’s not too late for you to become that man.”

If someone ever accuses you of being a return missionary, I hope there is enough evidence to convict you.

You should only marry someone when the Spirit tells you it is right. (You can be selfish in this!!)

D&C 13-Oliver Cowdery
D&C 110-His description of the Savior

Difference between FORGIVENESS and PRIVILEGE.
124: “He may act in concert with my servant Joseph…” (HYRUM)

Never do anything in your life where you lose your privilege.

Never live below your privilege.

One word more important than any other world:
REMEMBER.

Try a little harder. Be a little better. Do a little more.

Some are a little bit of scatter-brained thoughts. Impressions I had of the Spirit rather than the direct quotations of the speakers. But uplifting and edifying, nonetheless.

The Church is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the one true way to salvation and eternal happiness. I’m so grateful for that beautiful, perfect plan that has been given to us. And I hope than anyone reading this knows of my testimony and my firm belief in a man who sacrificed everything for each and every one of Heavenly Father’s children who has and who ever will walk upon this earth; the man who suffered and died to provide away for our sins to be made clean. Jesus Christ is my Savior, and He is yours. I am so blessed to know that and to be able to share that with those around me.

Godspeed, friends. Happy Sunday.

Stand Ye in Holy Places.