Monday, April 21, 2014

Goodbye is not Forever

I've been saying a lot of goodbyes lately. This is how I feel about it. 

Especially in this young-adult stage of life, people move in and out of each others' lives so quickly. Sometimes people are only together for a semester, a year, the length of a summer job-and then it's time to part ways again. We meet so many people in such a short amount of time, and we never know where life is going to take us next!

It's easy to have regrets once these time periods come to an end. A friend in my ward was saying that it seems like people only really connect at the end of the year, right as everyone's getting ready to leave. People say things like, "Why weren't we friends sooner? Why didn't we hang out more? It's the classic-you don't know what you have until it's gone-mentality.

That really got me thinking. How do we avoid that feeling of regret when it's time to say goodbye?

Here is what I've learned over the last several years of my life:
It is so important to treasure the people you're with right from the start. 

Personally, (and I know I'm not alone in this), I have never been good at goodbyes. I hate endings. I hate the thought of people parting ways and not knowing when they're going to come back together again.

However, I've learned that if you invest everything you can into the people that you're with, no matter how short or long of a time it may be, goodbyes don't have to be sad. You don't have to leave each other with regrets, rather you leave with memories of time well spent. You leave with gratitude for what you taught each other, for the things you experienced together, and for the trust that you built. Those are the relationships that stand the test of time. Those kinds of friendships never really end!

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk in the April 2014 General Conference expressed how I feel about all of this perfectly:
"There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings. Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."
Treasure your friends-old and new, and focus on those beginnings.
Goodbye is not forever.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

San Francisco in Five Hours or Less

That one time when we went to San Francisco...

Turns out that Danish missionaries have to make a personal appearance in either New York City or San Francisco to apply for their Visas. Two of the best cities in the world, you will NEVER hear me complain about that! We tell church travel headquarters what days within the next 5 weeks work for us, and then the church organizes and funds the trip (thank you!). We were in San Francisco for less than a day. Our flights got in around 9:30 am, and left at 6:30 pm. When I woke up the next day and went back to school, it was hard to believe that this 10 hour trip was real!

...and that is how four future missionaries found themselves adventuring in San Francisco on a random Thursday in April.

It took about an hour for all five of us to apply. After that, we had around 5 hours to explore the city before we had to head back to the airport. We did a lot of the classic touristy things: Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, the Ghiradelli store, and it wouldn't be a trip to San Francisco without visiting the Golden Gate Bridge! I just love wandering around big cities. Everything-the people, the streets, the buildings themselves-is so interesting and beautiful!

My favorite part about this trip, though, was getting to know some of the other missionaries that I'm going to be serving with. We're all entering the MTC on the same day, July 16th. Meeting them made this whole thing seem real! It definitely calmed some nerves too, knowing that there will be familiar faces when I start my mission.
San Francisco
Blaire and me across from Ghiradelli Square
(and the best chocolate dipped ice cream cone I've ever had!)
Cody, Zach, and I getting ready to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge!
as we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked....and walked

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Contact Information

Here is my mission email address! 
This is the fastest and easiest way to contact me.
I'll make it really big so you can't miss it. 

Mailing Address in Denmark

Søster Amanda Van Orden
Borups Alle 128 1,tv
2000 Frederiksberg

Monday, April 7, 2014

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy


As I've been talking to other future sisters, one of the biggest concerns that it seems we all share is weight gain. While it's true that worrying about our weight shouldn't be a huge priority, it is still a valid concern that should be addressed. For me personally, I know that I don't do my best work when I feel like I'm not taking proper care of my body.


We are going to be under a lot of stress on our missions. One of the best ways to manage stress and curb its adverse effects is exercise! We are given 30 minutes every morning to exercise. Make a goal to get in the habit of morning exercise before you go into the MTC. There will already be so many lifestyle changes, you'll want to make sure that exercise is a habit that you can rely on!

There are several ways to go about this. One way is to alternate cardio days with isolated muscle group days. (E.g. Cardio MWF, Muscle Groups TThS). Another way is to intersperse cardio with your isolated muscle groups to maximize calorie burn. The important thing is that you pick a pattern and stick to it! 
These are some of my favorite exercises for each muscle group. Feel free to modify/mix and match as much as you want! Find whatever works for you and feels good in your body.


Start out each day with a light stretch routine. This will wake up your body, warm up your muscles, and prevent injury!
I like to start from my head and work my way down. 
1. Head rolls clockwise and counter clockwise
2. Shoulder rolls
3. Cross Arm in front of body and stretch out shoulder muscle
4. Bend arm behind your head-stretch triceps
5. Arm swings forward and backwards
6. Oblique stretches-bend sideways keeping both shoulders facing forward, wide stance, extend top arm over your head
7. Quad stretch
8. Hamstrings
9. Downward Dog
10. Calf Stretch
11. Deep Lunge, elbows on the floor if you can


40 Jumping Jacks
5 Jump Squats
30 Speed Skaters
1 Minute Jog in place with High Knees
10 Side Lunges
10 Alternating Lunge Jumps
30 Mountain Climbers
5 Jack Knife Sit-Ups
20 Lunge Kicks
30 Jumping Jacks
20 Russian Twists
1 Minute Plank
(Repeat 3X)

Other good cardio: JUMP ROPE, and good old fashioned JOGGING!


Resistance Band or Light Weights

15 Lateral Arm Raises
12 Overhead Tricep Extensions
15 Chest Press
15 Bicep Curls
45 second Arm Circles
12 Tricep Press
45 Second Side Plank
45 Second Side Plank (opposite side)
10 Tricep Dips
15 Push Ups (kneeling or straight leg)
(Repeat 3X)


Sit in V Position-count to 100 while pulsing arms
30 Russian Twists
Lay flat on back and trace a full circle with each leg, clockwise and counter-clockwise 10X
20 Scissor Kicks
10 Crunches
15 Crunches R Leg extended up
15 Crunches L Leg extended up
20 Reverse Crunches
Lay flat on back and raise both legs to 90 degrees and back down to the floor 10X
20 Side Crunches (both sides)
20 Bicycle Russian Twists
25 in and outs
20 Oblique V-Ups
1 minute plank

Lay on your stomach and have someone sit on your legs
Extend arms out to the side and lift your torso off the ground. Hold 10 seconds
     -Don't crunch your shoulder blades. Keep your back wide
     -Repeat 2 times
Extend arms above your head and lift torso off the ground Hold 10 seconds
     -Keep shoulder blades wide
     -Repeat 2 times
Reach R arm back and grab hands with your friend. Have them pull your torso off the ground as high as it will go. Release hands and try to hold your back in that same position
     -Repeat on Left side


30 Calf Raises (one leg at a time or both together)
20 Squats
10 Side Lunges with kick up (both sides)
30 Curtsy Squats
25 Lying Inner Leg Lifts (both sides)
50 Second Wall Sit
30 Lunges (both sides)
45 Second Plie Pulse
30 All Fours Glute Kick Backs (both sides)
(Repeat 3X)


Another way to stay healthy is to be conscious of what you eat and drink. This can be difficult because we don't want to be rude to the people who are feeding us, but there are some things we can control!

1. Drink so much water. Always carry a water bottle with you. Staying hydrated will keep your body functioning at full capacity. In addition to keeping your weight under control, check out all of the other reasons why staying hydrated is so important for your overall health!

2. Eat a big, healthy breakfast. This is essential to getting your metabolism going for the day. Try to have all of the food groups represented: particularly protein, fruits and veggies, dairy, and complex carbohydrates. Don't skip this meal!

3. Control your portion sizes and eat slowly. 

REMEMBER: We should absolutely be respectful and grateful to people for inviting us into their homes and feeding us. For many families, this is a huge sacrifice. 

However, this doesn't mean that we are required to gorge ourselves. Rather, load up a plate of food and take your time with it. Chew slowly, take time between bites to talk with your hosts, and be aware of when you are full. In America, we are used to large portion sizes. Often times we eat so quickly that our bodies are full before our brain registers the fact that we've had enough. 
If seconds are offered, accept them, but again. Eat slowly. That way, you will leave the house having eaten two plates of food instead of four. 
Always say thank you, always genuinely compliment the food, and have a good time getting to know the people you're sharing a meal with! That way there will be no hurt feelings, and you won't eat yourself sick. 

4. You can never eat too many fruits and vegetables. Load up on fruits and veggies whenever you can!

5. Enjoy the new culture. Many of us are going to places with food that we've never tried before. I'm going to Denmark, and their pastries are some of the best in the world. While I am going to be conscious of what I eat, I am not going to deny myself treats! 

Everything in moderation, guys. 

I hope this is helpful and motivating! 
Make a plan, stick to it, and don't forget the real reasons you're serving!