February 13, 2015

"A Merrill and a Mission"

Dear Reader,

Today, I submitted my mission papers! In approximately three to four weeks I will receive a call to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

If you're a bit unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, allow me to explain. I'm a Mormon. Now, I could attempt to explain what that means here, but I'm no genius, and I'd surely leave out vital information. There's a website that can help answer any questions you may have about the LDS Church and Mormons. Unsurprisingly, it's called Mormon.org! You can access it here.

Now, dear Reader, I'd like you to imagine that you've just eaten the most delicious meal you've ever had the privilege of consuming. Something so beautiful that it brought a smile to your face, warmth to your heart, and tears to your eyes. Naturally, you'd want to share what you had experienced with others!

The gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me more joy than anything else in my life. It's about serving one another and becoming a better person. It's about love and family, patience and hope. It's beautiful. It has brought a smile to my face, warmth to my heart, and tears to my eyes many times. It's well worth sharing.

After graduating high school, I will serve as a full-time missionary for a period of two years. I do not know where I will be called or what language I will be speaking, but I trust that I will be sent where I'm needed.

If you'd like to take a guess at where I'll be serving, comment below or on Facebook. In a few weeks, we'll see which guesses were closest! The LDS Church has a little more that 400 missions around the world, so really, we can do quite a bit of guessing.

If you have questions for me, feel free to shoot me a message or approach me at any time. I thank you for your kindness and support.

With love,


(Below are images of my two older siblings, Sam and Larissa. Sam is currently serving in mission in Everett, Washington and my sister recently returned from serving in Salt Lake City, Utah.)

Hermana Larissa N. Merrill
Elder Samuel A. Merrill

January 2, 2015

"Joy from Journaling"

Dear Reader,

This past year I lost a lot of sleep over something. Some nights, it kept me up long past midnight. Don't worry, though... it wasn't a guilty conscience that kept me from enjoying a long night of rest. What kept me awake this year was my resolution to journal daily.

I have to say that it was very tedious at first. I had to force myself to stay awake long enough to write. Early on, I realized that if I made "Well, it's late and I'm tired" an excuse not to journal, I would never write. So, in the beginning, I forced myself to do it. As the year progressed, it evolved from a chore to a habit. Now, it's a passion. I LOVE journaling. There's nothing quite like being able to look back and see how terrible and beautiful life can be. I can look back and identify moments where I goofed up or did something right and then watch the consequences of my decisions play out. Life can be different every single day, so my entries vary dramatically. Some are comical, some serious. Some are denotative, others more abstract and reflective. But they're all priceless to me.

There were a few nights this year where I didn't journal for some reason, and I regret every single lost day. The experiences of those unrecorded days are nearly impossible for me to recall, which is tragic.


I beseech of you, my dear Reader, if you have ever considered journaling to stop making excuses and start now. If you haven't considered journaling before, then consider it now. Again, I can't believe that I didn't journal before. It is extremely difficult, but it's certainly possible. I challenge you to keep a daily journal. If you do, you will find great joy. You'll come to love it as I do, and then you'll find yourself saying the same thing. "I can't believe that I didn't journal before."