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maybe that title is a bit confusing...
I personally have not moved, but my internet presence has!

I am now blogging at: 

I wanted to create a site where I could express myself!  
TwentyWithaPuppy has my experiences with my new puppy and my life at LDSBC.  

I have quite a few followers still on this blog, so I want to make sure and invite you to continue to follow me! 

Thank you for the continued support! 

I've been thinking alot.
and I don't really want to get super personal here, but to the same effect I can't seem to stop thinking and maybe I need to start talking. (or blogging, as the case may be...)

I'm going to back track really fast and say that I served my LDS mission in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I served for 11 months and then came home.  I feel like I have to say that because the assumption when I say I served a mission is that I lasted the whole 18 months and I'm getting tired of omitting the coming home early part of my story. 

My point is that the date has now past in which I was supposed to come home.  I got a Facebook friend request from a couple of my MTC buddies who didn't ditch out early and it got me thinking about the "what if" and "could have been"...

I've not really thought a whole lot about coming home early, I've just gone on with my life.  but when November came and went and I heard from those girls who I would have come home with, I started to feel confused.  confused as in I'm not sure what I feel, or, at least, I didn't know what I felt and that's why I didn't write or continue on with this blog.  

but now I know how I feel.  
and I feel just fine.
I actually feel happy.
I was worried I'd regret things or resent my past self or be angry or feel hurt or left out and alone and abandoned.  but I don't feel anything like that.  I've tiptoed around my emotions until this point because I wasn't sure when the crushing realization of the actuality of my decision would come crashing in around me.... but here I am and I think I can, with certainty, say that I am happy and okay. 

of course I still have my days... I'm still sick and sometimes I can't pull myself out of whatever blackness my illness brings, but whatever sadness or frustration I feel isn't about my mission. 

I had an awesome mission.  I experienced everything. My "awesome" mission was hard and exhausting, and it pushed me to my limit and then kept pushing me over the edge!  it hurt to wake up and I remember nights when I was too tired to even sleep! I would get so angry with my companions and I would be so frustrated with the binding constraint of the rules. it took me a long to time to learn to ignore the looks people gave.  and all these things were completely amazing!
(maybe you have to serve a mission to understand that...)

I've met other people who have returned home early from a mission, and they all seem to have a bad taste for missionary work.  they don't want to talk about it and they certainly don't want to participate in it.  and I understand that completely.  it was hard to come home and from the moment I came home I wanted to forget everything and push every reminder far, far away. it was like I didn't bake long enough in my missionary oven.  

but here is what I've learned that I really want to share:

we are all unique.
one size fits all does not exist in this gospel.

for a long time I felt I should be ashamed.
I didn't actually feel any shame, but I felt like I should.
I was worried because I didn't do what I was "supposed" to do, and I had failed and I was a terrible person.  no one wants to feel like that! so I put up my barriers of anger and I told myself missions were dumb.
I created this cycle because I felt like other people felt something about me.
does that make sense?
I know... I'm ridiculous, right?

it's taken me a little while, and in honest truth I think I will always struggle with this idea, but I'm at least beginning to understand now what I'm feeling.

lets wrap up.
I served a mission in Oklahoma and it was amazing.
I don't need to tell you it only lasted 11 months because that's really irrelevant.
I don't need to tell you my mission was hard and I actually hated it enough to make myself ill and finally come home, because really, that's not actually relevant.

I was in way over my head out there... but I lasted a whole 11 months!
It was hard, and I spent way to much time crying... but I learned so much and I've actually changed into a better person.

my favorite thing that my mission taught me is that I am an individual, and that's okay.  my story is mine and my mission was exactly what it needed to be!
I can see where I've been blessed by serving.
I wasn't abandoned by God for a moment!
He is not disappointed in me, He doesn't wish I had stayed.

I am a unique person.
the Gospel is not one size fits all.
My experiences are mine and they are custom fit for me.
I "cooked in my oven" exactly as long as I was supposed to.  My mission was amazing and perfect for me. I love that I was blessed with that experience.
I don't have to feel ashamed because there is nothing to be ashamed off!

I know that I am a child of God and that I am loved and known.  I know Gods children are all unique and individual and special and that we all have amazing things to offer the world. Everyone's story is unique, and to me that is a testament that we truly do have a unique and personalized relationship with our Heavenly Father.  I am so grateful for my own relationship with Heavenly Father and I am grateful for everything that he has taught me and has yet to teach me.

hey, this is sister Longberg /  Karen, speaking to you all way from...... salt lake city!  home :)
I know... it's early.
I wasn't scheduled to be home until November.
but I've been sick.  I've been really sick.
and being sick is not something missionaries are good at!  a missionary is made to work, and to be out with people and to work and work and work.
sick people do not work well.
I gave it my all.
I am confident I could not have done better with the time the lord gave me to serve.
I prayed and I prayed and I know that coming home to get better is what I needed to do.
I love the people I was able to meet and the lessons I have learned and all the stories I have to share.
I am excited to start my life with these amazing memories!
I am excited to continue this blog as I get my health back and transition into normal human mode :)

I want to share with you a cute video my sister and brother-in-law made of the day I got home - The Surprise

<<< this is a still from the video mentioned above.
let me tell you: no words can describe the feeling you get as you come down that escalator... the panic, the excitement... it's like an out of body experience.

there is a cool guy named Richard, and on monday he said he wanted to be baptized. 
Richard is penecostal.  he loves God.  he owns a chicken farm out in the country and he loves when we come over and help him pick eggs and talk about the scriptures.  Richard will not accept a book of mormon, no matter how pleasantly we offer it.  He invites us to his church every week, and we invite him to ours.  He says "the bible is all we need!"  and he respects that we go out and preach the gospel of Jesus of Christ.
on monday, Richard stated that God told him to seek us out and get a blessing for a hurt rib.  he said he knew we were the ones who could heal him.  our ward mission leader gave him a blessing and we all prayed for him.  he got better.  he told us later that God again told him he needed to be baptized in our church. 
for a moment I was really excited... but now I don't know how to feel.  Richard says he won't come to our church and he won't read the Book of Mormon.  He knows God wants him to be baptized in our church, but he won't do it if he has to be a member of our church. 

Richard is one confused guy. 

the other day we went to visit him and he wanted to take us out into the country to see his cows and the baby calves he has, but we couldn't go in our car because it's pretty rough country... so he wanted us in his truck but it's against the rules to ride with a dude and us alone.  he scratched his head and said "well, what if we took the tractor?"
sister burt and I only now have realized that that too was against the rules, but in that moment, it seemed like a perfectly great idea. so we spent an hour or two going through rough country and fast running rivers on a bumpy tractor ride. it was one of the better spent afternoons of my mission!  fresh air and a cool breeze and watching a group of tiny baby cows running around :) 

anyway, I tried to ask Richard why he knew he needed to be baptized but why he thinks he shouldn't join with our church.... he didn't have an answer. 

I did, however, convince him to take a book of mormon and read my "favorite" chapter.  he said he would do it as a favor to me... what ever gets him to read, right!?! 
sister ma'alona could hug really well.... but guess what happened to her!  
on friday evening we get a call from president saying she is being emergency transferred to.,.. somewhere I can't remember!  I guess there is a sister who's been out for a transfer and 2 weeks and she just can't do it anymore and she gave up and went home.  so we lost sister ma'alona.
it was a very sad and cry filled day.  we got the call friday at 5, we went to dinner at 5:30 with some members.  at 6:30 we were at the church for tracy's baptism (which went perfectly :) ) and then we finally got home at 9.... and she packed till 11:00 and then we left saturday morning at 8:00. 
wow.  I don't know how she did it. she is one strong missionary!  

on sunday we had to speak... and at first we were super sad that sister ma'alona was gone because that meant our talks had to be longer, but we forgot that tracy needed to be confirmed that day and then we had two youth speakers and all.... so really it all worked out perfect!  
I have never given such a good talk :)
even though I was feverish and coughing and sneezing and achy and I sound like a man, I prayed and I spoke with serious power.  I was so proud of myself!  
I'm going to send you the whole talk I wrote out.... sadly it's not exactly what I said or anything... most of it's not even spelled right because I wrote it in two minutes before church that day!  but I'm going to give you that final copy.  I'm really proud of myself and maybe you can go over all the scriptures with eric... it's mostly the book of mormon and nephi :)

Tracy's baptism went really great.... I am waiting for someone to send me pics so I can send you pics!  
I really wish I wasn't so hurty today so I could have more patience to write to you!

we talked to vicki... she isn't really progressing, but she is amazing and she loves when we come visit. we might get her to come to church on saturday for the general conference. 
we have a new investigator named Mike, he is tracy's friend.  he joined us for one of tracy's lessons a few weeks back and now he is coming to church and he carries around those HUGE book of momrmon and Bibles EVERYWHERE!  he is sooooo funny.  he will be a slower process... but he is a blast to teach!  he is such an old out woods hick sorta guy, but he sure loves to learn!  

I've realized something:
I've lost a gift/talent I used to have and still love.
I can't read the books I used to read, and I can't write the way I used to write.... so my ability to write and express my thoughts and feelings with writing..... yeah, it's kinda all gone down down down hill.
sad sad sacrifice. 
but I was thinking about it and I guess I just need to outline what I want to say better.
this week we had two funny/interesting experiences and one very cool spiritual experience. 

#1.) the interesting experience: 
we got to "exorcise" a demon from someones home. 
that was sure interesting.  
we really just went in there to visit, and the next thing we know she is talking about how her son has a new "playmate" and how there are weird sounds at night and things are always moving around and there is simply a bad sad and overall unpleasant feeling in the home all the time.  
after she told us all that, we were all just silent
for a few minutes.... and then I just kinda laughed inside and got excited and I said rather boldly "okay then, lets sing a song and say a prayer!" and so we sang "I am a child of God" and then we read some great empowering scriptures about how God is all powerful and then we each took turns and said a prayer.  and then I went over and very blatantly told her that her cigarette habit and alcohol and swearing and the constant television with the angry shows and the bad video games and the nasty porn like art and the sheer dirty gross state of her home was NOT going to allow the spirit we invited to stay for very long.  and she totally agreed!  
we came back a few days later and the home was still dumpy, but she had some windows open to help with the cigarette smoke and most of her garbage was thrown away.... so she was obviously trying to fix her situation.  she had pleasant music going and she had put up a picture of Christ.  we brought her a large picture of the OKC temple and explained to her how sacred and special that place was.  
she said she hasn't had a ghost problem since we were there, and she invited to continue to come back and read scriptures with her.  
we will see what comes of that.

#2.) funny:
we did some service at the nursing home, helping them plant some flowers and a little herb garden.
sister Ma'alona is pulling some weeds when all of sudden she jumps back and squeals and sister Burt jumps and I nearly fall out of the raised bed we were working on!
they looked like rats!  4 of them just started to run in circles!  the flower beds we were working in are raised up with little walls, so the poor things were trapped in with us.  
looking at them closer, we saw the floppy ears and little white tails.... BUNNIES!  oh so so so cute :)  they were just tiny little babies!  we put them back in their little nest and left that area alone. at the end of the service we said a prayer with the residents that the bunnies mom would come and help them find a safer place.  
I hope that prayer came true! 

#3.) spiritual:
I got to see a baptism on Sunday!
Jesse is 8, so it's not a convert baptism, but it sure felt like one!  
Jesse has loved the church forever and he always went with his grandma, but his parents were less active until a few months ago. 
Jesse's dad got the priesthood and blessed the sacrament on Sunday for the first time, and then after church he performed the baptism for Jesse and he did it perfectly!  
I just love seeing the change that happens in people and especially in families.  

The End

I have to talk in church next Sunday... so that's gonna be rough.  
but on Friday Tracy is getting baptized :)  
busy week coming up...
I am staying in Cassville with sister Burt, but we are getting another sister! my first Trio.... I don't know how I feel about that.  I'm definitely an attention hog, so the idea of trying to share my companion with another companion kinda freaks me out.  but I actually know the sister that's going to join our party:  sister Ma'alona.  she was in Claremore when I was in Owasso... so she was in my last district.  she has just barely finished training.  she is super cute and quiet, but I think we will have fun... I think.
as for how this week has been..... well, I don't have much to say. 
Monday: snowed in.
Tuesday: finally got to E-mail, but I was sick so I really just slept...
Wednesday: still sick
Thursday: more service at the methodist church, and then I got to sleep and watch old church movies with aunt michele while sister Burt went out with christina to teach Tracy who now has a baptism date for march 28 :)
Friday: sister Burt is now sick
Saturday: sister Burt still sick, but we tried to see vicki again... her son was there and he just loved us!  gave us a hug even though we told him no... so that was weird.
Sunday: church and MCM and we spent alot of time talking to a guy in a trailer park about aliens. 
this week we have zone conference, I'm really excited for that :)  Elder Ellis is coming to our mission!  did you get to watch the last CES devotional with him?  and of course the book, the infinite atonement, he wrote.  I love this guy and I'm really excited for the conference.