"Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It's your masterpiece after all."

-Nathan W. Morris

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When I first meet someone, I look at his or her smile and then into his or her eyes. I believe what Hiram Powers said, “The eye is the window of the soul, the mouth the door. The intellect, the will, are seen in the eye; the emotions, sensibilities, and affections, in the mouth.”

From Janeen’s smile and eyes, it is easy to see that she is a genuinely caring person. She naturally cares about the welfare of others and is fully invested in whomever she happens to be with. It is evident that Janeen strives to fulfill her divine potential by serving Christ through service to others.

Janeen has a life history of service. At the time of this interview, she was serving as Relief Society President—a female-based organization at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints focused on increasing faith in Christ and serving the community. This was her second time in the position. Her responsibility was to know and care for ninety individual women. She was responsible for each individual’s spiritual and temporal wellbeing.

Janeen loved her responsibilities she held as Relief Society President. She valued getting to know the many admirable people in her congregation, “I love how I get to know them on a spiritual level, a level that I normally wouldn’t be able to if I wasn’t in this position.” She further explained, “I find it wonderful that I can develop a love for people that I don’t even know.” The most difficult part of her calling, she explained, “is that I find it difficult to balance my time, I just don’t get enough time to be with the girls in Relief Society.”

As we discussed Janeen’s responsibilities as Relief Society President, I inquired about what in her past lead her to be as dedicated to service as she is. She first spoke about her life as a young girl on a farm in Idaho. Janeen laughed when she said she did not like the farm life, she preferred the city life. It was because of growing up on a farm, and her desires to be inside, that she fostered a love of reading.

She grew up with two loving parents who were, and still are, role models in all things. Janeen didn’t hesitate to also throw in that she was her Mom’s favorite child. Janeen spoke about wonderful memories of her parents, three sisters and one brother. She described how she looked at how her older siblings lived, how they each have a good sense of humor and how they are good examples; she desired to replicate their examples. She spoke specifically of her sister Jessica, who was her best friend and also one she fought with on many occasions. Jessica and Janeen would be a strong hold for each other in the future.

As we further discussed the influences in Janeen’s life, she described two teachers she had along the way. The first was her piano teacher from when she was 12 years old. The piano teacher was always up beat, and Janeen loved her for it. The second was Janeen’s science teacher who taught her, “no matter what you do, do it well.”

As part of Janeen’s history of serving others, she completed an eighteen-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Tennessee and Kentucky. She described the other sister missionaries that she was blessed to serve with, how each of them had her own unique qualities and different ways to go about serving the Lord. Janeen described how each of those sisters had a love for their neighbor and a love for their God. Janeen also explained how she loved observing each of these sisters so that she could learn from their styles.

Janeen further said of her mission, “I was able to experience the atonement in different ways in each of my areas. I saw so many miracles, learned to be humble, and could see my own faith growing. I could see myself growing to love the people I served.”

Janeen explained that serving a mission was not something she had planned on doing, and it was only about eight months prior to her mission that she decided she would do one. “I had just finished a study abroad in England and wasn’t sure what to do next. A mission just felt appropriate. I never got a specific answer to serve one; I simply acted and it felt right.”

Janeen desired to be an influence for good as she had seen from her many examples in life. She discovered in her life that it is easy to be positive and upbeat, and also discovered that not everyone is able to do the same. She realized it is a spiritual gift that should be used to help others.

After the mission, Janeen decided to transfer to BYU Provo from BYU Idaho to be with her sister, and best friend, Jessica. Jessica had recently been widowed and Janeen felt like she should be there to support her sister—after all, Jessica and her husband Steve had always been there for Janeen. Janeen explained, “We need to be both receiving and giving at the same time.”

Janeen is now recently married and is looking forward to her new life with Mac Christensen. She recalled a passage about Mac she wrote in her journal when they first starting dating, “Mac is spiritually a good looking guy.” Though she didn’t specifically say it, Mac is also handsome on the outside.

Janeen, while talking about her future with Mac, said that she strives for a future where she can be a builder wherever they go, “I want to spread positivity and cheerfulness. I want to build up my community, my family, and my church. I want to leave things better then when I found them. It will be fun to do that with a family; it will be fun to continue with the blessings I was given with my childhood.”

Janeen is a wonderful friend and a wonderful person—a true disciple of Christ. Her actions speak for her abounding love for God and for all those around her. I am excited for what the future holds for both her and her husband Mac. They will, with no doubt, be an exemplary family to many people no matter where their lives take them.

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