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.


31 thoughts on “I’m alive and well . . . well, mostly well.

  1. Oh my goodness! You really went through something! But you got a great blog post out of it. I bet you were thinking about that as you were puking….yeah…I’m sure….
    serious part now: I think that power of example is much more significant that we think it is. Like the power of the holy ghost that touches all people in many different ways, I think there is power that comes with example wether it be good or bad, and the effects are far-reaching. I think you did much more good than you will know. Eternal good. You may not see it in this life even. I don’t think you are supposed to. The power of good example to bring people unto Christ. It comes from the Atonement.
    Anyway – Good Job!

  2. Wow, that’s awesome that that boy decided to serve a mission! How great that he took the time to tell you!

    Oh, and that’s how my migraines go, they just get worse and worse until I HAVE to throw up and then I feel much better and sleep it off. That really stinks that you had to deal with that while flying!

  3. I think you’re great and I love your blog, so please don’t take offense at this, but what qualifies you to teach at EFY? How do the organizers know about you? How do they introduce you – Stephanie – the mormon mommy blogger? I’m assuming there’s something more in your background I’m not aware of.

    • (laughing) No offense taken. I’m not even sure I AM “qualified.” Anyone can apply to be a teacher (well, anyone who is a practicing Mormon and feels capable of teaching doctrine). They outline the application process on their website if you click on links for employment. It’s a very part-time job. One or maybe two sessions per summer. And I’m pretty sure they don’t even know I have a blog. Hopefully nothing on it would “disqualify” me but, trust me that nothing about this blog makes me famous anywhere except for right here in my very own universe. 🙂 While I was in college, I was an EFY counselor for 5 years so I’m quite familiar with the program, and some of the administrators and I worked together back in those “good old days.” I’m sure that was beneficial because when they saw my application, they knew who I was.

  4. I hate, hate, hate throwing up! I’m so sorry! I’m sure you did a wonderful job at EFY….I wish I could’ve heard you speak, the titles sounded great.

  5. I think that is so wonderful that that boy told you what he did. I’m sure you touched many more lives and never knew, but it’s always nice to know, isn’t it? It brought tears to my eyes when I read that.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon. Throwing up is never fun, especially in a moving car. Your brother deserves a batch of fudge, too! 🙂

  6. I just think you ROCK! I’m so sad we didn’t get to have lunch. Glad you’re home and in your own bed tonight. I want to know if it is a “big bed”- ask your husband. He’ll know what I mean:)

  7. This is a great post! It helped me understand the challenges E.F.Y. leaders face when organizing their talks/activities/workshops. I only ever got to go to one, because where I come from (Australia), we have it only once every 4 years. The other 3 years we just have an annual Youth Convention. Thank you for sharing with us what it feels like from the leader’s perspective.

    In Australia, we actually call these conventions T.F.Y. instead of E.F.Y. (EFY is the name of an insurance company here, so we call it T.F.Y. (Time For Youth) to avoid any legal proceedings). I remember coming home from that convention with a stronger desire to be a better person and to improve my mission preparation. I’m not too sure if the leaders at the T.F.Y. I went to knew of the lasting impact their words have had on my life. One of the leaders is now my Institute teacher, and I still learn many new things from her example, as well as what she teaches.

    So don’t worry about not having the ability to delve into the youths’ minds and see what they’re really thinking about your presentations, because chances are you’ve left postive lasting impact on them.

    And get well soon! 🙂

  8. I’m so glad that young man came back in to tell you of his decision. Now you know that all your hard work and sacrific made you a wonderful facilitator for the Spirit.

    I must say though, with you being just around the point from me I would have totally crashed your bloggy meetup if I had known. Maybe next time.

    As for the smelly situation coming home, man that stinks. Migraines suck. Vomiting sucks. Migraine induced vomiting really really suck.

  9. The good parts of your trip were awesome.
    The bad parts were just bad enough to make me wonder if getting on a plane in a few days is the worst idea of the month. I’m so sorry. Of course, I do have a slew of medicines to accompany me, at least. I may arrive almost comatose, but at least my brother’s car would be safe. Wasn’t Steve sweet? Nice brother.

  10. Did you teach session A or B? I just need to know because my sister was there this past week and I don’t want to interrogate her about if she went to your class if she was in the wrong session. 🙂

    Funny story – A BC totally thought I was a participant when I was dropping my sister off. Yup. I look like a 16 year old excited for EFY. But I really didn’t think I looked like I was concerned about my outfit … I guess she didn’t pick up on that. She put her arm around me and everything, not to mention did really cheesy excited EFY stuff that counsellors only do in front of the youth – HAHAHA! Love it.

    • Oh, and that’s hilarious you got accosted with a joyful welcome. You young thing, you.

      On Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 10:15 AM, Stephanie at D-D wrote:

      > I was session A, but the kids from both sessions could attend all the > classes. Don’t tell me if it’s a bad review. 🙂 > >

  11. So glad everyone enjoyed the fudge. It’s super yum.

    I think your classes sound great. Maybe I’ll look into doing some of the regional EFYs around here. I miss teaching youth. It’s been two years since I was in the classroom. I love staying home, but it would be nice to flex those muscles from time to time.

  12. Steph, you’re awesome! It sounds like you had a very eventful trip. I know you touched more than that one boy… I’m sure there were lots of kids that had a similar experience. Thank goodness for people like you who are willing to sacrifice time, tallent, money, etc. to help and teach our kids. Talk to you very soon, Love you!

  13. Yikes! What a way to end it all! Hopefully you are feeling better. Headaches and migraines are the worst, especially when you have to throw up.

    And I hope you are going to do a post on each of the classes you taught so we can all benefit from your wisdom 🙂 !!

  14. I can’t tell you how much I can relate to this! I, too, once worked at EFY and the emotional pressure of preparing a life-changing workshop for a hundred or so teenagers is ENORMOUS!!! I did my share of up-chucking before and after a few sessions myself. Great way to break the tension… 😉

    But oh, my heavens, it’s all totally worth it when you get the wedding announcement of a young lady who was heading down a very wrong moral path in life, and you read the little postscript saying “I would never have made it to the temple if it wasn’t for you!” There’s only a few things better in life!

  15. Stephanie… What can I say? I.am.so.proud.of.you. Having spoken at e.f.y. myself (ee gads) I know exactly the feelings you described. Your topics sounded so perfect for YOU, though, and I sincerely wish I could’ve been there to hear. Good job.

    And I am utterly, totally, sympathetically sorry about the hurling. All too familiar with the “pull over, I’m going to spew” scenario. Sorry!!

  16. Your classes sound like they were excellent. And what a great response from that 16-year-old kid. Teachers don’t get those kind of paychecks very often. I’m sure it was well earned.

    This is really fun to get to know some pieces of your life outside the blogosphere.

    And that whole stress let-down/migraine/vomiting thing happened to me once, too. On the way home from the closing reception of one of my art shows. Very intense. I feel for you. Take good care of yourself this week.

  17. Oh man!! I hate those migraines, all I want to do when I get those is go into a dark room and sleep it off. I can’t even imagine getting on a plane. Puking is something I try to avoid at all costs, hate it! I did my share when I was pregnant 5 times and totally never want to do it again.
    I’m so grateful for EFY in the lives of my kids, Thanks so much for giving of your time and talents for the youth! Many lives were touched I’m sure.

  18. so sorry about the terrible end to your trip. i wish that i had come to your classes. they sound wonderful and inspiring and i’m sure that more than one of the students had a spiritual experience while attending (although cool that you got to find out about his.) get some rest.

    My daughter came home last week talking about this Stephaniesomething lady who did a really great class — and MOM! She has a BLOG!

    I wondered if it was you!
    She said you were wonderful! She attended the Get Over Yourself class and really liked it a lot!

    Great job, Stephanie!

  20. How cool that Justrandi’s daughter was at a class of yours!

    And how awesome that you helped change people’s lives. I’m sure there were others who didn’t come to tell you about it. That is so great. I love your topics. Hope you’re feeling better!

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