Monday, March 23, 2015

Here's a happy hello from a beautiful day in Ventura!
   Yes, I'm feeling very happy today and things are bright and cheerful. It's a perfect 70 degree day and guess what? It feels like Spring. :) General Conference and Easter are in the air and I'm super excited. I think I have my 3 General Conference questions narrowed down. Okay...actually I'm asking a lot more than 3 this General Conference. There's a lot coming up in the next 6 months of my life. I'm so excited to hear from the wonderful leaders of our church. There is such a powerful and joyful spirit that comes with General Conference. This Saturday we will be watching the General Women's Meeting here at the stake center in Ventura with all the women in our stake. It will be wonderful. I'll be thinking about you family. :)
   Sounds like it's been a fun and eventful week. I hope that the birthday party went really well, and I hope that the actual day is super fun! Happy Birthday Sam! Happy Birthday Henry! I love you both and I'm so proud of you. I'm sending you a hug from me right now. <3
   Thank you for the great letters this week Mom, Emma, and Bethany and James. I loved each one and they made this week better. :) They helped me out a lot and they came just on the days and the exact time that I needed them. You're inspired. I love you!
   Okay, here's the report on this week: St. Patrick's Day was a lot of fun. We went over to J.'s house again to do service and yard work for her on her back slope. Super fun way to spend the morning as we again basically repelled down the slope with ropes and pruned bushes and bagged it all. She's very sweet and we've had some good gospel conversations with her. We'll be going back again tomorrow and we're hoping to be able to help her desire to learn more. After service she always likes taking us out to lunch, which is special. On St. Patrick's Day she took us to a Chinese restaurant. I think she's trying to find a way to get us Thai food, since she heard that I love it. So tomorrow morning and early afternoon will be a lot of great fun with her, doing service and then lunch. On Friday we had a fun event. We had a big Meet The Mormons movie night at the church. A lot of people came, both members and nonmembers. President and Sister Felix were there and a ton of missionaries from our stake. It was fun to see it again. We are teaching a sweet woman named L. She's the one with the orange trees. She loves hearing about God's plan for us and our families. Our time at memory care was special this week. The head nurse F. really likes having us there and is putting us to great use, lifting and helping the residents. This Thursday he involved us in this big discussion with them, asking them questions and trying to help them remember their lives more. They were doing so much better by the end.
   This week I turned 16 months old! ;) Crazy, crazy, crazy. Exciting stuff though. :) Time is flying.
   Yesterday, Sunday was a wonderful day. My talk went really well, I loved being at church and taking the Sacrament, Sister Felix came to see our new apartment and we sat around our cute little table and talked for a good long while, she's wonderful and very loving and supportive, and to finish off the night I received a Priesthood blessing. It was a special day and I went to bed feeling great again. I woke up happy and energetic and I'm excited for this week. I'm so grateful for all that Heavenly Father helps me with and does for me. 
   My talk was on Being A Light. I absolutely loved the topic for some reason. I love talking about light, "glowing", having an influence, and working to be Christlike. From my love of the symbol of stars to the experiences that I have had on my mission where I literally saw a "glow". I have come to love this topic. I used a lot from Sister Neill F. Marriott's talk "Sharing Your Light." I shared personal experiences from my mission and from back home and I felt that it went really well. I felt at peace as I gave it. After the meeting a lot of members of the ward were excited to come up and talk with me about the subject and their experiences. The 1st Counselor in the bishopric said that I took the topic he gave me and did exactly what he was hoping for. He shared a story of seeing someone's light with me. And then that night, after a lesson, we got into the car and there was a missed call and a voicemail from Sister Colvin in our ward. She said she wanted to speak to me specifically. I was nervous. ;) Just kidding. We called her back and she told me that she and her husband had been talking after my talk and that they felt like they needed to call me and tell me that while I was standing up there giving my talk that, in her words, my "little spirit was glowing!" It was so sweet of her and it made me feel good. She thanked me for bringing the spirit into her Sunday and for strengthening her and being an example to her. It was just what I needed to hear. This week was hard. The situation that I talked about last week got worse and then got better and then got worse and then better several times and the stress of the whole thing made this week a stressful and emotional roller-coaster. But I've been taken care of the whole way and I'm feeling great today. Heavenly Father loves me and has provided for me and strengthened me all week. He's sent a ton of little blessings to me every day. He's pretty cool that way. :) funny as this sounds: You know you've had a stressful week when giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting sounds relaxing! :) Haha. Yeah, I loved it honestly. So yeah, the situation has calmed down a lot, hopefully it won't go back up again, but President and Sister Felix and my companion and district and all of you have been very helpful. I love you. Thanks for being so great. I'm grateful for how this week has shown me how much I've grown. I am SO much stronger now than I used to be. That in itself, to see that and know it's true makes it all worth it.
   Today Sister Wilson and I are going to go have fun exploring a bit of downtown Ventura. We want to go drive by the beach and look for some Ventura shirts. Should be a lot of fun. She is hilarious by the way. We are laughing all the time and she's such a great support and friend and companion. It will be a fantastic week.
   I hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful week. You're my favorites! :) I love you.
Love, Melanie (Sister Hardman)

~16 Month Mark!

~Sister Felix paid us a visit to come see our nice, new apartment Sunday afternoon and she stayed to visit for a while. I love her.

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