It's not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves...

Merry Christmas - Call home.


so long burkians.

oh yeah guys we found sister Sydney wathen at the DC VC
dhhs sistas.

#CATLADY shout out to @madiwoahh
(we are the cat ladies)
(but not really)
(but the door signifies so)

Christmas caroling
hi Christmas

todds camera does cool things

in action.

2013Christmas Card



I know there are a lot of readers of this blog from all walks of life and different backgrounds with different stories. If you have a particular topic or subject or question or interest you would like to read more about, shoot me an email at


I would love to elaborate on the matter. I have gotten several emails about
WHY I DECIDED TO SERVE (type of questions)
I will share that story and post it in two weeks from today(ish). If you have any further questions or ideas arise shoot me an email and I will get on it.

As for this week,
Holy. Shnikey.
We got spoiled.

I'll give you the rundown because I know you all wanna know what the missionaries did for Christmas. ;)

We went on a mini exchange with the Sisters. In the apartment complex we live in.  There are six of us English Sisters. The YSA Ward Sister Training Leaders, Us and Rolling Valley. We all met up at Target and switched companions so we could buy a gift for our current companion. We had a time limit and a budget. It was fun. Besides the fact that I had a manic coughing fit. THIS COLD. We also bought white elephant gifts for our District. Monday night we went to the DC temple with a family in the ward. We were supposed to have four investigators meet us there. But there was a crazy bad wreck on 495 so they turned around and went home. BUT since we were already there we watched the show. It was Todd Thatcher performing.  His family lived in my first area. So I got to see the Thatcher family and give them all hugs which was a fun time. It took us forever to drive home.

District meeting. During District meeting we played a white elephant game and exchanged gifts. We also had a Facebook training that morning which was neat. For District meeting we all meet up at a church building as a zone. So there was probably about thirty plus missionaries gathered to have a meeting. Tuesday evening we went BACK up to the Washington DC Temple lights and watched another performance. It was a saxophone quartet. We went with another family in the ward and W. it was fun. The visitor center at the DC temple is so high tech. There are iPads and touch screen tv’s everywhere and its huge. They have a really cool Nativity display with over 90 different nativities from different countries. And Christmas trees everywhere. Then you go down to this huge auditorium and watch live performances. Outside you can see the temple and over 900 thousand Christmas lights.  It’s pretty. W. enjoyed it. On our way home he gave us these really kind Christmas cards.

Christmas Eve! We went to lunch with the G. family. They took us to this authentic Latin American restaurant and had us try a little bit of everything. We had papusas, which is this popular El Salvador food that looks like a pancake but has cheese and sometimes pork in it with salsa. Yuka, which is a root of some sort, it looks and tastes like a giant, tough French fry with ultra spicy ranch or something. Plantanes, which is this fruit that looks like a giant banana cooked with those Spanish homemade runny beans on it. And then this other dish......which had all kinds of sea food I don't know what to describe it as. And horchatas.


We went to a couple different members homes for treats, gifts and dinner.  Then we went Christmas caroling with our District. After that the Sisters met up at the Sister training leaders apartment and ate pizza, opened a present and reenacted the Nativity which was great.

CHRISTMAS DAY. We had a Sisters breakfast at our apartment.  It was cute. We opened presents, showered, wrote thank you cards, skyped home, ate at the G.'s home.  We played catch phrase with their family. Watched He is the Gift.  Went to a different church and socialized and fed homeless people for the rest of the night. It was quite the epic day.

thanks to the membs for the overlarge contribution of fruit.
notice how all they eat is bacon and cin. rolls.
the struggle

The rest of the weekend was average. Except we did have a Mission conference on Friday and we found out who the New Mission President is going to be! President David (and his wife Michelle) Huntsman. Like the guy who ran for Presidents brother. He comes in June. I actually leave the same transfer the Riggs do. So I won't have him for a Mission President but he sounds like a boss!

Things are pretty much back to the way they were before now.  The Holidays are dispersing.

...well....yeah...PRETTY much.

This next week is New Years! And with New Years comes NEW Resolutions. RIGHT? Remember when we would set New Years goals in elementary school? Do people still do that? I believe setting goals is important.


My companion said that was a gross quote. But a quote is a quote and that's all I have to work with so excuse the hairy part. Srry. Not srry. Blame Jack.

What's the point of a goal?

I don't think I did much goal setting back at home. But I have learned if you don't have a goal to work for you are just air balling it in any direction. Even if you don't end up accomplishing your goal, its better to be working towards something rather than nothing. If life takes you a different direction, so be it. I found a quote in a little book a friend sent me for Christmas by Earl Nightingale that fits perfectly, he says

"all you have to do is know where you are going. .
The answers will come to you of their own accord." 

So even you FREE SPIRIT HIPPIES can set goals and still be a free spirit. It's good to always have a plan formulated, to constantly be striving for something. To constantly be changing and improving.

So my conclusion is the reason to set goals, is to improve upon,
To NOT become a fence sitter.
To drop being 'mediocre'
To shoot for the stars!
To have a plan or idea
To try a little harder, to be a little better
To push ourselves, to stretch ourselves
And to experience and accomplish things we otherwise might not have thought we could accomplish beforehand.

At the Mission Conference this weekend, President Riggs was talking about "Becoming." Our ultimate 'goal' is to become more like our Savior, and to return to live with God. He shared this quote about a young man who wished to Receive his fathers inheritance. His father wanted to give him all that he had too. Not only his possessions but his stance, and what he had become. And he read a quote that stuck out to me, it was the father saying..

"What I have I can easily give you. 
What I am you must acquire for yourself."

It's very fitting in the context of our Heavenly Father. He can easily bless us with whatever he wants whether it be riches or our burdens lifted or whatever. But who we are, what we become here, what we do with the blessings we have been given is up to us. We acquire and choose the type of person we eventually become. This also relates back to goal setting because "Becoming" happens one step at a time. One goal at a time.

Preach My Gospel says:
"Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish. Through goals and plans our hopes are transformed into action. Do everything you can within your power to achieve your goals while respecting others. The ultimate measure of success is not in achieving your goals alone. It is in the service you render and the progress you make."

Or as sir Edmund Hillary puts it
"It's not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves."

goals = to change, to progress, to become.
It's not necessarily the fact that we can check a box on our goal list and say we did it, but it's what we have incorporated into our life and the experiences that came along with it.
It's about conquering ourselves
Not just the mountain.

I have lots of goals for twenty fifteen believe me. Something tells me this year is going to be a year I won't ever forget. Lots of CHANGE but also lots of progression and learning experiences and beautiful memories. I'm ecstatic for what 2015 will bring! Last year at the beginning of 2014 and beginning of my mission, Sister Riggs gave a talk about having a one word goal. Meaning you pick one word you want to become. Rather than having a million things you want to try and change and improve on, to just pick one and really focus on it. Last year I chose the word


I knew 2014 would be the bulk of my mission.  The full year that I would be out here serving. Before I came out and when I first became a missionary I felt discipline was something I struggled with. In every aspect I didn't like to be disciplined or particularly understand the purpose of it. But as I was listening to Sister Riggs one word talk this specific word kept popping into my head.

The definition of discipline that I liked the most was
"activity or experience that provides mental and physical training;
of the mind and body to produce obedience and self control."

or in other words, President Riggs defines discipline as
"doing what you don't want to do, when you don't want to do it, because you know you should."

and that is something I struggled with.
example a: My alarm clock goes off in the morning. Do I get out of bed? Or hit snooze?
example b: I need to workout because I'm gaining weight. Do I sit there and think about it? Or do I do it?
example c: Grandma sends me twelve boxes of double stuff oreos. Do I stow them away and eat them all myself? Or leave them on the table where my companion will eat them and get fat rather than me?

Among many other things there are some favorable examples I will claim. Over the past year I hung a big quote above my desk reminding me to be Disciplined. In my thoughts, actions, daily routine, schedule, performance, tasks, teaching, time, passions etc. It's something I have really strived for this entire year.
AND it has really worked.
Picking ONE thing to focus on, one thing to apply to MY life daily.

I am not perfect at Discipline. I still slip up and I still get lazy. I'm not perfect at anything. BUT I have gotten better. It is something I have learned and will keep with me for the rest of my life.  The power behind being disciplined. The amount of work you can get done if you are disciplined. The kinds of success you will have. in life, as a missionary, whatever it may be.

For more about discipline click here

But because I liked the idea so much I decided to use this one word Goal Challenge again this year.
This year my word is:
You probably read my last post on charity two weeks ago, and the importance of it. That is what I have decided to take on this year. I have been so caught up in being disciplined I think it has had a reverse effect on me slowing down, chilling out, smelling the roses, and loving life. and others.

I have always been fast paced.

You know the kid in kindergarten who takes their coloring page and scribbles all over the entire paper in 35 seconds then slams the crayon on the table and proclaims BOOM DONE. While all the other five year old children are learning to color inside the lines. Ya. That was me.

I like things done quickly and promptly. My life has always become a big task list where I'm continuously adding more checks and more check boxes. I've always felt I needed to be accomplishing something to be successful. Lately I have felt the need to slow down and experience things... Rather than simply accomplishing them. And truly loving and enjoying it along the way.

President Riggs also read a quote about Charity at the Conference. He said,
"the reason charity never fails, is because charity is not a single act, it is a state of being... 
a succession. something one becomes."

So in order to work on CHARITY this year.  I am gonna be toning it down a notch. Slowing down. Living and loving and enjoying the beauty around me. To not just Conquer a mountain by doing something charitable.  Rather my aim is to Conquer myself and BECOME a charitable person. To reach that state of being, or living, where charity is what I truly believe and live by.

Don't expect this to happen in a week. This is a year goal. Maybe a five year goal. SUCCESSION #chill

With that I challenge you to find your own one word goal to improve on this year. Evaluate your life. Organize your priorities. Find something you can change and improve on. Don't worry about the impossible mountains to be conquered because that's besides the point.

It's not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.
~Sir Edmund Hillary

As for next week, my Dad will be posting a little something about priorities, responsibilities and life lessons. So stay tuned for that.  You will hear from me in two! (weeks) If you have any preferences on what more you would like to read about on this blog.  Shoot me an email and I'll get back to ya!

love you!

Happy New Year
*horns & whistles*

s. stucki

Sent from my iPad

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