I’m alive and well . . . well, mostly well.

EFY_Theme_2009_smallSo, I just got back this afternoon from my journey to Brigham Young University to speak at Especially for Youth.  I had a good experience overall.  I get pretty nervous when I teach at EFY, mostly because I put a lot of pressure on myself to be exceptional.  I just figure if they fly you all the way out there, and the kids pay money to come, you better do a pretty darn good job, so I stress out a little bit hoping I can measure up to expectations.  Some have asked what I taught about, so here are the titles and class descriptions.  I taught each class twice.

General Conference Workshop:  What God’s Saying Today
There are living prophets on earth that speak for our Heavenly Father and teach us what He wants us to know; Their teachings are relevant to our happiness and essential for our safety. This class will be a study of the recent words from the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles. In a workshop setting, you will practice studying and personally applying the modern revelation that we hear at General Conference.

The Law of the Harvest:  Growing the Life You Want
The Savior spoke a simple parable about planting seeds that teaches us about our own role in achieving our goals. We’ll look at the spiritual and day-to-day applications of the Law of the Harvest, including how it helps us to better understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Get Over Yourself.
Do you sometimes find yourself consumed with your own feelings, problems, worries and disappointments? Jesus Christ taught us how we can lose our lives in His service, and He promises that our burdens can be made light. We’ll discuss ways that you can step outside of yourself, turn your focus to others and the Savior, and develop a Zion heart.

Mission Prep 101:  How to Start Now to Become the Best Missionary You Can Be
The Lord needs the very best to do His work. We will study and discuss what the modern-day prophets and apostles teach about how to best prepare for missionary service. There’s much you can do right now to invest in a successful and powerful mission. Even if you are undecided about a mission, these suggestions will help you live a happier life right now as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The good news:

1.  I got to go out to dinner with this lovely lady Mary, who I only knew through her comments here on my blog.  It was so fun.  I have to say that this meeting friends online business is totally legit.  She was charming and bright, and I couldn’t believe how many connections and coincidental life experiences we shared.  I’ve always been a tad bit skeptical of Internet dating and such (with all the weirdos out there and all–  Mary assured me that she was NOT really a 50-year old predator named Victor).  But, if this had been an internet dating event, and I happened to be a guy, I would definitely ask Mary to go on a second date.  My husband will say that was a dumb thing to say, but I know you women will understand what I meant and what I didn’t mean.  Thanks Mary!

2.  While I was gone, a delicious batch of homemade Pecan Praline Fudge arrived at my house from the lovely Melanie J. My dad was so excited to receive it in my absence.  He did leave some for me, thank goodness, but if it had not arrived, it’s possible that my parents’ stint as babysitters for four days may not have been worth it.  As it is, they left content, and with a bag of the last remaining pieces of fudge for the road trip home.  Thank you, Melanie!

3.  So after I teach each class, I always feel a little unsettled because it’s so hard to tell if it went well or not.  You think it went okay, but you’re never sure.  A few youth come up and say “Thank you,” or even that they liked the class a lot, but you still wonder if they’re just saying that to be polite since you flew all the way out there to talk to them and all.  Anyway, I always wish there were some instant feedback button where their heads all light up when they feel the Spirit of the talk and make some life-changing decision based on your message.  Or maybe not.  But anyway, at the end of my last class yesterday, the room emptied as all the youth ran off to enjoy their much-anticipated free time.  One boy, probably about 16 years old, came back into the room and approached me as I was packing up my things.  He says softly, “Um, this is going to sound kind of cheesy, but . . . when I came into your class today, I didn’t know if I was going to serve a mission or not, but now I’m going to go.”  I said, “That’s awesome!  That’s not cheesy.  That’s how the Spirit works; it changes you.”  He smiled and said, “Yeah, so thanks.”  “Thank you. You totally made my day.”  He left.  And I cried.  I figured that even if all my talks sucked and I got horrible evaluations, just that one kid who made that decision made it all worth it.  Seriously.

The bad news:

Apparently all that nervous pressure I put on myself about my talks took a toll on me a little bit.  I developed a tension headache by the end of each day, and last night my Tylenol didn’t quite put a dent in it.  I slept really poorly all night long, and by the time I woke up, it was a migraine.  My sweet brother Steve drove me to the airport at 5, yes, 5 a.m., and the oncoming headlights and streetlights were making me nauseous.  Combined with the vibration of the car and the sounds on the radio, my head was experiencing some serious sensory overload.  We stopped and I bought some Excedrin at a gas station, but a few minutes down the road, I knew I was not well.  “I think I’m going to throw up.  For real!”  Steve was flying down the freeway and it all happened so fast.  I emptied out his Wal-Mart bag and used it as my receptacle.  It had a hole.  It had been many, many years since I threw up last, and I have a phobia, so it was not pretty.  Poor Steve was driving with one hand and patting me on the back with the other, seemingly unaffected by the fact that I was filling his passenger seat with bodily refuse.  Did I already say it was not pretty?

He pulled over to a 7-11, where I pulled my drenched lower half slowly out of the car and went to the trunk to dig some dirty (but dry) pants and underwear from my suitcase.  The restroom was locked and a sign said “Out of Service,” but the attendant took one look at me and let me in.  I actually did feel much better after I puked and changed my clothes, and luckily I was fine for my two flights home.  I still have a slight headache now, but I’m lucky I was able to fly as well as I did today.  So, I’m off to bed in hopes that a good night’s sleep will do wonders.  It’s good to be home.