Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Nashville

No photos again this week, so once again, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. All illustrations are courtesy of me. You're welcome. ;) 

Man, what a crazy week. What a different week. I mean, I am on a mission. I got to talk to you on Christmas, which was AWESOME, and I am so grateful I was able to do that. My first Christmas away from home. It was just a weird week, but not a bad one.

Since me and my companion are new to the area, it was a little bit hard to make connections with people fast enough so that we could come over on Christmas. Christmas on the mission is a normal day. But it was fun to go and share a little Christmas message with those we could. We sang a Christmas Carol to a lady, and she started crying because in all of her 61 years of life, she had never been sung too! It was a cool experience.

To be honest, this week was probably harder than last week. Maybe because of the season, maybe because I was supposed to learn so much more, and maybe just because it was. My trainer had me going and knocking doors...oh my gosh, I was so bad at it. Why isn't there a camera following me around to show missionaries what not to do? It was so scary. Ah, I just wanted to crawl in a hole. 

And people tell you their whole life stories, and in my mind I am screaming, " I am a 19 year old girl, and I don't know how to help you." I want to pick them up and carry them through their struggles, or help them pay for their house bill, or somehow magically change their life. I just sit there and listen, pondering on the sadness in their life. I wish I could do so much more than I can.

And then, you are probably thinking, share with them the gospel. And it's true, we do. But some of them already are members. But that doesn't mean trials are gone or hard times don't come to a family. It's hard to watch. My heart goes out to them.

Plus, I am at a very beginner level when it comes to speaking about the gospel. My companion is very well spoken and great at leading and teaching lessons. Sometimes, I feel like a thick layer in the air is blocking my mouth. Like a cloud of fear. It is so strong, and I am working hard to break through it. To just open my mouth and pray that whatever comes out is okay. A mission is a lot more mentally tough than I ever could have imagined it. But them, I remember the words of my Dad, "Just keep plugging along. Consistency is key. LOVE IT!!" Dad, I really did listen to all of your pep talks. And I remember how hard I worked to get here, and how I know I am supposed to be here, and I keep trying a little bit harder every day. I might start out in last place, but I won't end there. 3rd grade Turkey trot taught me that one.

The best lesson I had, happened the night after Christmas. We are teaching a less active Filipino woman, and her husband. She wants to re-learn the gospel again, because she realizes she is missing that peace in her life. They are an amazing couple and we got to teach them the restoration. There came a point, where I remembered a story from my life, that I had completely forgotten about until this moment. And I decided, no matter how hard it is to get a word in, I am going to say this. I remembered it for a reason. The Spirit was really strong. I looked at them and said, " One time when I was really struggling and kept beating myself up for not being perfect, and not being good enough, my Dad and I were talking. He sat me down and said, No matter what mistakes you make, I want you to ALWAYS know you can come home. And that love that my dad showed for me, really helped me understand the way my Heavenly Father feels about me. He wants me to come back." It was an experience I will never forget. That is the best I felt a lesson has gone.

I just want to say thanks, Mom and Dad. The love you showed for me has shaped my whole life. The more I learn about Christ and study his life, the more I realize how great of people you really are, so thank you.

I am really into reading the New Testament right now! I never thought it was possible to get so jazzed over the scriptures. I just finished reading Mathew, and it is awesome. The things Jesus teaches...IT'S SO GREAT!!! Yes, it is true, I am becoming a missionary nerd. But I don't even care. I am working hard to gain a closer relationship with him, for the sake of helping others somehow. I am here for a reason, and I need to start letting myself out.

I am loving the experience and have so much hope here!! I love you tons!!!! I am doing great!!

Helaman 5:47

P.S. oh my gosh, funny story. There is a lady in my ward, that is into Numerology! I got to share my knowledge with her because of Grandma Sheila. Please tell her! I decided that while I can't be with the original awesome Grandma Sheila, I have made her my honorary replacement. And she says she has seen a UFO--People here honestly believe in Aliens! They are so convincing . . . I think I will come home believing!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Howdy, Ya'll!--Nashville, Week One

After a forever long week, we got our FIRST NEWS from Nashville.  Tatum didn't have time to upload photos, so all photographic evidence has been embellished by me. That's what mom's are for, right?

I finally got a P-day! Oh man, I only have a short time on the computer and this computer blows, so sorry for the lack of pictures this time. Here is just a quick run down okay?

First off, I arrived safe and sound. The mission president and his wife are awesome! They picked us up from the airport and we were supposed to "work the room" while waiting for our luggage. Man, that was scary. I wanted that luggage to come SO bad. We slept and ate in the mission home the first day. President Anderson is so passionate about mission work which is really, really fun to see. I was so nervous about who my trainer was going to be. I went up and read my name and area on the stand in Transfer Mtg. and all of the sudden Sister Hargadon was running at me. She picked me up and swung me around. I felt so much love as she welcomed me into her mission family, as she called it. I knew at that moment everything would be okay. The funny thing is that when I saw her earlier, I thought, "She looks just like Jessica Biel" and "She is the most naturally beautiful person I have ever seen. I wanna be like her one day." Then boom. The Lord knows, people! She lets her hair go natural, doesn't wear a lot of make-up, and rocks her own style. She has only been out three months, so she just got out of training.

I am in Mt. Juliet,which is a small suburb town 20 minutes out of Nashville. Everyone says it is the best ward in Tennessee and I believe it. The ward mission leader is on fire, and the people here really are the nicest things on the planet. Holy cow, I have gotten homemade fudge, banana muffins, banana muffins with chocolate chips, and bottled water from NON-MEMBERS!!!! A couple named Don and Dixie gave us bags of extra groceries because she knows the missionaries are poor. And when we tried to deny it, she looked at me bold, straight in the face and said, "Are you gonna deny me these blessings?" Long story, short I took the groceries. They aren't even Mormon and don't even like our religion really, but man they will treat us so good. I can't believe it. It is beautiful. The people here have taught me a lot more than I could ever begin to teach them.

Oh my goodness, you guys would love it here. I think of Dad fitting in here perfectly whenever I go into people's homes. The first day I was here we were stopped on the side of the road, and this 19 year old girl came out and was like, "Are you guys okay?" And I said yes and talked to her about why we were there. I mentioned Jesus Christ and she goes, "Oh my gosh, HE IS MY FAVORITE SUBJECT!" All I thought was, Where am I????  How crazy is that?

And this part member family, the Douglasses, the Dad hasn't gotten baptized because he won't do it in a man-made font. He believes the only way to do it is in God's river. And in my head, I am like "YA BUDDY!! I AGREE COMPLETELY" They live such a humble life in a trailer, doing everything they can to make ends meet. Ah, but they know what life is about.
Another example, these two ladies, both named Mary, who live in a trailer together--mother and daughter. They fenced in their yard and refer to it as their garden of Eden. They have three dogs and a DUCK!! She was cradling the duck like  baby, and I got to pet it! Ducks are unbelievably soft. But she was saying how they found peace and happiness in their garden. The older Mary said, with a huge sincere light smile, "I feel like I am a billionaire, I am that happy." I can't even describe it, but she gets life. SHE GETS IT!!! Her and her daughter were talking with such peace and real happiness. I wanted to sit and listen for hours. I wanted to make a return appointment so that they could teach me. Moments like that are so fun.

I'm not going to lie, I have been exhausted. The mission schedule is brutal, and I am trying to be obedient minute by minute. I want to study, but my eyes burn like beast. Sometimes I chew jerky and stand up at the same time to get through personal study. I am hoping it gets better. We are both new to the area so we have a lot to figure out.  I have been blessed though. 

Dad, Happy Birthday! Yesterday, when I remembered it was your birthday, I shouted to the sky, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!" I hope you heard it. I got really sad for a moment because I had no way to reach you and tell you that. But it's okay, its all worth it.
I have felt the love of lots of prayers coming my way. I have never felt that before, but I do here. Thanks for that. I have no time. Oh man, but I will write you a hand written letter too okay. I am excited for the package. I love you so much! All of you! I pray for you guys all the time. Know that I am working my hardest for you.
Tell Grandma Frampton that Dixie means, "God created me because he wanted to!" My friend Dixie told me that I thought that was the coolest.

Love you lots!!! Think about you LOTS!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

MTC Week One

This is Tatum's Mom, and I'm afraid it's time to change her blog title from Paris Adventures to Nashville Adventures. She is now serving her mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has been in the MTC for just over a week. She leaves for Nashville on Monday, September 16th.

The following is her first email home, with photos:

Oh man oh man! Hello Family!!

I can't even tell you how happy I am to be on a computer and emailing the people I love the most. I have so much to tell you, what a wild ride I have been on. Seriously, this is my only P-day in the MTC and I will be in Nashville on Monday....CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???

My awesome companion, Sister Slaymaker
The first three days in the MTC really were the longest days of my life. They felt like every hour was a year and my Spirit was trying to stretch to fit all the gospel information into my heart. But this week has for the most part flown by. I have never sat for so long in MY ENTIRE LIFE!! Holy cow, and in a skirt. Sometimes I felt like I was stuck on a plane. But it's cool because I have felt the Spirit a lot here. Lots of times I feel like its just silently sitting inside of me telling me, "Sister Frampton, it will be okay. Trust me." Preparing my first lesson for my investigator....oh my...I thought I was going to die out of pure nervousness. I had forgotten a lot of my fears until I had to face them head on. I had to go in there and get to know this person and try and explain my knowledge of the gospel. But the joy I felt when I got out of that first that was joy!! I was jumping around with my companion, who is AWESOME by the way, just happy we made it through lesson 1. And it was horrible, but hey, I'm trying to learn, and everybody has to start somewhere. 

Sunday's in the MTC are great because it is completely different. I got to watch Music and the Spoken Word and I loved listening to the Tabernacle Choir...who am I? I mean that is big for me--please tell Grandma Frampton that one. And when I got to go on my first temple walk and leave the gates of the MTC, PURE JOY!!! That was the fastest 40 minutes of my life. The mountains were just beautiful and I felt free. It is amazing how life before the MTC can really disappear until you actually get to witness the real world. 

My first venture out of the MTC
Honestly, sometimes it is really hard here. It is a trial of your faith and what you are doing here becomes really really real. My purpose as a missionary is to invite others unto Christ, so that they can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. I mean, I am telling people about their salvation. It is HUGE!! I feel so much love for my investigators even when they are not real. My progressing investigator's name is Andy, who is a single guy who is 26 and waats to make some changes to his life. We really try to make the gospel personal to his life and his needs. But like, this is serious stuff. As I study, I want to make sure I have a testimony of it before I ever preach it to anyone else. Digging into the basic principles of the gospel, causes me to think, "Do I believe this? Can I communicate to someone else this importance?" And I have not been on my knees this much in my life, or said longer prayers, or hungered to know the gospel this much ever. This mission is not for me, it is for the people God needs me to teach. The longer I am here the more I realize that.

On Monday and Tuesday, I had a question in my heart that I had been studying and studying. I had prayed so many times in my life to know if it was true, but I never felt like I got an answer and it bothered me. I forgot how much, until I had to testify of it to an investigator. I hadn't told anyone. But I was fasting that day, and that was what I was praying for. But my teacher was in tune with the Spirit. The lesson happened to be on that topic, and when we were doing personal study she came up to me, and asked if she could study with me. We had a talk about it, and she had me read a scripture. I felt the Spirit so strong, oh man. I lost it and started crying. I felt the Lord fill me with peace and comfort and my body was shaking the rest of the lesson. It is a moment I never want to forget. And Tuesday was probably one of the greatest days of my life. I couldn't stop smiling and laughing! I kept thinking that I looked like my brother Wyatt after he made his first three pointer in a Varsity basketball game. I couldn't get the smile of my face. And then later that night, I got to teach Andy, and testify of what I had felt. 

Me and my companion at lunch.
Teaching is so hard and so rewarding. I love learning about people. It is the best, and yesterday I got to teach a real person who was visiting Utah and her friend sent her in to learn about the Mormons. It was all super random and a teacher walked by and needed someone on the spot and asked us. We didn't have a lesson planned or know anything about her. She was the coolest girl out there. Her name was Chelsea and we just made her aware that her Heavenly Father does know her, and loves her. And we introduced the Book of Mormon and gave it to her to read and pray about. My and my companion (Sister Slaymaker) felt so good after that. It was crazy!!!

But actually, the rest of yesterday was really hard on me. I started to get down on myself for my weaknesses in teaching. There are some strong sisters in our branch who talk so well and smoothly and know soo much! My speech is pretty weak and I am still trying to understand how to explain some of the lessons. I don' know. I just want to so much for my investigators but I realize I can't do it alone. And thats why this place is trying on you. You have to learn to listen to the Spirit and rely on it to be the teacher. Cause man, I am only human, and nothing I say will change anyone's life. Only the Spirit can do that. 

My district is awesome--3 boys and 4 girls. 

Elder Roybals, Elder Jackman and Elder Miskin 

Sister Kaitlyn King, Sister Callie Phillips, Sister Skye Slaymaker
It's weird that nobody knows my first name. It is weird to me that I even have a first name. Sister Slaymaker is from Sandy, wants to be PA like Dad, and got her medical assisting. Super fun, smart and confident. She works really hard and we get along super well. We pretty much are the same person....what the heck? But I needed her, I am so grateful for her because this place is hard enough. There are millions of sisters going to Nashville, and I have not met any elders going there. The boys are going to North Carolina Charolette or Missippi Jackson. All of the girls wanted South mission and love country music and sing it in the I the old ball or what?? Anyways, we have the best district. 

I am loving it here, I love having a purpose. I am just trying to be better and continually grow my testimony. 


Sister Frampton

Monday, November 25, 2013

Do as the Romans Do

To celebrate my last Sunday in Europe, I took a nice long stroll around the hills in Florence. It was beautiful and so peaceful. The people I am traveling with aren't big talkers, so I just lagged behind, put in my Ipod and zoned out. Looking out over Florence is just amazing. I kept trying to come up with something profound and awesome for my farewell talk. To find the perfect words to summarize all that I have learned. It is so hard to put into words. Or even come up with a solid answer that anyone will understand. I was really content though, to look out and see.

I keep having these internal battles with pictures lately. Sometimes when you are so busy taking pictures you miss out on actually seeing what is right in front of your face. I am sick of taking pictures, but then I am afraid that I will forget what I see. It is funny too, because the people you travel with always have different ways to document an experience. Some journal lots, some just look, and some take millions of selfie's that you want to just grab their camera and toss it out the window. ( I am traveling with the latter of this sort...shhhhh....)

So, I apologize for lots of selfie's but that's the only way they document experiences. And I guess, if I can't be in a picture with them, I got to be in some of them. And so, I apologize in advance for all of the selfie's. But just remember, I am with people who took a MILLION more than me today.

Okay, I won't apologize for this one. I really like this one...haha

Firenze Marathon

So, there was this Marathon going around all of Florence on Sunday. It was awesome to see the whole city involved and parts tapped off. Oh my, I got really into the idea. And as we headed to Santa Croce to visit the tombs of Michelangelo, Dante and Gallileo, we found the finish line of the race. I went over to watch, and these are the people that came out. The crowd went wild. It was such a success of the human soul, I almost started crying. These people inspired me, and I wanted to run a marathon. First time in my life, I have ever had that desire. It was amazing though. Way cool experience. 

Sorry, I must be tired. Lots of traveling lately. How about some Rome?

The Colosseum:

Worked hard for this group photo. 

Palatine Hill and Roman Forum:

What are these trees? They are the coolest things on the planet. 

And more Gelato:

1st-strawberry, dark chocolate, and bannana

2nd-pastachio, tiramasu, and cassata (by the Trevi Fountain)

Well, that's my first day in Rome. With too many pictures, and too many selfies. Do as the Romans do!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Italy in a Nutshell

Alright, my internet is pretty crappy at my hotel here in Florence, so I am just going to blurt out as much as I can and put up all the pictures that will possibly load.

So, I left Cassis--(South of France)--on Thursday, and boy was it a nightmare. The town is so small, and I swear not a soul even lives there. Okay, okay, maybe I am exaggerating, but everything in town would close at like 1. What are the people doing all day? A problem happened with the taxi we needed to book, which almost caused me to miss all 3 of my next trains...

1st Miracle--Other girls let us use their taxi first to our first train station.

Then, once we got all the way to Lyon, France we had to switch train stations. Did that. But, a tree fell because of the SNOW and so we had to go back to our old train station. Stressful!!

2nd Miracle--after a crazy detour we landed on the same train we were supposed to be on.

Stepping out in Milan, Italy--SUCH A GREAT MOMENT! I was just grateful we made it there.

I only had a night in Milan, so we went to the Milan Cathedral. It was gorgeous. Milan was super nice and clean, and really modern actually. And the Burger King even had Chicken Fries...I hadn't eaten anything all day except for stupid gummy worms from the vending it's okay right?

Next stop: Venice--

Wow, pulling into Venice over the water. What the cool? A city on water. How does that even happen? I don't know, but I was pretty happy about it. The weather was actually pretty great and sunny. The streets were so small, and it was weird to try and navigate through streets and get to bridges. When you make a wrong turn, you get stuck...because yep...there is water. Ah, the water was really blue.

Just had to take a pictures of these people embarrassing all of human kind.

I started off the day exploring. By the end of the day, I had gone into 5 churches. They are so different than French churches. They are much more wide, with white and red brick vaulted ceilings. And I think they are actually used....that's a funny thought.

But best of all...wait for it...wait for it...guess who took a romantic gondola ride?? This girl. But with two other wasn't that romantic. It was still rocking awesome though. On the water, you couldn't here any sound from the streets. It was so pleasant and peaceful. We were just cruising through people's backyards, with laundry just hanging out the window. Different lifestyle for sure.

Alyssa, Natalie and I

Saint Mark's Square was gorgeous ahhh. Looking out over the water. I just hate how it's such a fleeting moment. I know the second I turn my head to walk's gone forever. But at least I got to see it once right? And Venice is fun and different. Full of tourist shops and full of masks. I have never seen so many masks in my life...and yes, I did buy one just for fun.


I arrived in Florence at 12 noon. Walking with lots of luggage through Italy has been a pain. So much of a pain it is almost a comedy. And it's not so bad for me, but for my roommate. She broke her luggage on the first day in Paris. 3 months ago. Wouldn't buy a new one. She's been dragging it for days around, just scrapping it on the floor. I can't even look at her I feel so bad. And so, she finally gave in to buy a new suitcase. She waited until we were in the dead land of Cassis, with no stores open. I happened upon a cheap luggage and bought it for her because...yes that's all there was. It saved our butts the past two travel days, but in Florence, her luck ran out.

She banged the luggage hardcore against the curb, and BAM! There went her wheels....she had to carry the thing the rest of the way to the hotel. See how its funny??? I had to try real hard.

But we made it to the hotel. And the Florence Cathedral.

This is the ceiling....mind blowingly awesome! I got so lost in it, I actually lost my friends...haha

And the bell tower.

See the bell tower in the back...I went up all 404 painful stairs of that thing. I actually got to hear the bells ring when I was right underneath it. It was so LOUD and BEAUTIFUL!!

And the Academia Galleria.

And got to see the David. Oh..Oh...Oh....that sculpture is PERFECTION. In real life, it is massive. I walked in, and turned my head right and then BOOM!! What is this master piece before my eyes! It is crazy how detailed it is. The veins on the hands pop out, every muscle is flexed. After that, I honestly had no desire to see anything else in the museum. I stared at that sculpture for a while.

From like every angle. I felt so blessed to be able to see such a piece of art. It just knocks anything else out of the park. And it looked so detailed, I was convinced it was real. I could have sworn it was going to turn around and say, "Ciao, Tatum. How are you liking Florence?"

What a day. So much. And you know what is the best thing on EARTH!! ----GELATO.

This is actually my first ever Gelato in Venice.
Holy Moly, not an exaggeration. I feel like I am 5 years old again. I just want to eat more and more and more and more. Yes, I have had a solid 2 Gelato's every day. And when I get fruity flavors, I count that as my fruit for the day.

Plus, I have eaten some Italian pasta and pizza. Pretty darn good. Especially the pasta. The pasta rocks!

Oh and there is this look out point called Piazzela Michelangelo, where you can look out over all of Florence. We went up during the day and night. Breath-taking. Always go up things. I'm literally should win an award for best stair walker after all the stairs I have walked the past 3 months.

While walking up to the stairs..

Italy is awesome though. A whole different country. Way different from France. It is weird that I have been to 3 Italian cities in 4 days....HURRAY for travel! I can't understand anything, so it's always an adventure. But I have heard more American/British tourists speaking English here than any of my travels.

Well, Ciao for now!