My Summer in Zion

“And now continue your journey. Assemble yourselves upon the land of Zion; and hold a meeting and rejoice together, and offer a sacrament unto the Most High.” D&C 62:4

On my first Sunday here in Missouri, I came to Single’s Branch alone, sat down, and counted 10 other members of the ward. That’s it. There was 11 people. We didn’t even have enough people to split into different classes for the 2nd and 3rd hours.

We are about 30 minutes from Jackson County, I thought for sure there would be more Mormons!

11391456_10202816730059100_5207263784130909412_n

Within a few weeks of being there, I started going out with the Sister Missionaries and I met some amazing member missionaries. We attended the truly miraculous baptism of my wonderful friend Patrick. We visited everyone who hasn’t been coming to church and threw a huge barbecue to meet everyone. We played Frisbee nearly every day and I got pretty dang good. We hung out at church and at each other’s houses and a little bit at Buffalo Wild Wings (the cool kids call it B-Dubs). We learned more fully what being a church family meant, and it felt great.

1891148_10202999410385994_3978416778496861172_n

In the first class of summer institute there were 4 attendees, including the teacher and his daughter. The last week I was there, there were 15 students on a week night at church, ready to learn, because we all had real relationships with each other

The Platte City branch was just absorbed into the Liberty Branch, and now has hundreds of members. Before the branches combined, the Platte City Branch was up by at least 20 members. But it wasn’t the numbers that excited us so much. It was the carpooling to activities, the feeling of inclusiveness, and the brand new buzz of conversation in between meetings as friends embraced and acquaintances were made.

So it wasn’t a huge thing, and there weren’t huge, mind blowing, earth shaking miracles, but I realized that Zion is a place but also a spirit of unity among people. As one of my new friends put it, “Be Zion today.” And in that tiny town, we were Zion!

I’ve grown a genuine love for the people here and a love for sharing my love for the gospel. And so now that you’ve read/skimmed through this post I would like to announce that I will be serving an 18 month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I expect to find out where I am going sometime in mid-September and to leave sometime in January.

I am so excited that I have an opportunity to press pause on my life in order to more fully serve The Lord for a short time. It has taken me a while to officially make this decision, but I firmly believe it will change my life and give me an opportunity to help others in a new capacity. If you have any questions about it please comment or email!

Rings & Things

My best buddy since before birth and life long co-conspirator, Logan Marie, my sister has finished her surgeries in New York and come to join the family in Platte City, Missouri.

Quick to take advantage of our short time here, we arranged for a Jazz Tour of Kansas City, indulging in fantastic music, glamorous scenes, and some seriously tantalizing bites. But little did my sister know, there was something much more exciting in the works.

11659428_10202999324423845_825426301300577844_n

We sampled our way through Kansas City’s best bars (starting with dessert, naturally) while listening to a variety of performers, from lobby singers to big bands, to tap dancing trumpet players. Meanwhile….our parents were at the airport fetching a very special surprise guest.

11705288_10202999324383844_3218694151870670001_n

Our fabulous tour guide was in on the scheme too! He was excellent at stalling for time when necessary, not to mention his attentiveness in introducing us to all the performers, and ensuring we were treated like princesses by the wait staff. So distracted was she, there is no way she could have caught on to the fact that at that very moment, her boyfriend from Phoenix was racing over with a special surprise.

11695004_10202999324303842_4549453572642697120_n

Logan: “Let’s get the garlic pomme frites…it’s not like we will be kissing anyone tonight.”

Me: “Yeah I guess you’re right…”

Ooops..

To end the night, our driver took us to a fountain for a “photo-op” but the pictures we ended up with were not exactly what Logan expected…

For standing in front of the glittering fountain with a bouquet and a ring box, was the one and only Parker Stanley.

And I present to you:

The Future Mr. and Mrs. Stanley

 11700807_10202999324463846_1275010642013663960_n

And I would like to formally invite you along for the wedding planning process as the (almost) official Maid of Honor, Sister of the Bride, and head of the Bridal Party (and most parties in general.)

Lift Up Your Voice

Hello, my name is Victoria Strode and I am here issuing a formal, public apology.

In my blog I write a lot about clothes, and travel and my family and my feelings, but I have been intentionally leaving out a piece of myself that is so integral to who I am and the motivating factor behind all the things I love and do. I’ve been stopping myself from writing about God in my blog for a few reasons…

1. I did not want to offend. I wanted to keep things very politically correct and make my followers comfortable by leaving out anything that could cause disagreement or conflict.

2. I was afraid of backlash. Since joining the blogging world, I have struck up a few friendships and made a little home in my corner of the internet. I was afraid of what my followers would think if I suddenly began writing about my faith. I was afraid of hate mail that religious bloggers usually receive.

3. I was (am) afraid of misrepresenting my religion. When I speak for the LDS church, I am speaking for millions of people, that’s a lot of pressure, just saying.

All these reasons are based on fear, and while it is natural to have fears, I want to be one who is not driven by them. I have been surrounded by God’s love, and I want that to be my driving force.

Recently I posted a picture to the instagram account that is linked to my blog, announcing my religion. I lost a couple followers that day, but I also received an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family, and fellow bloggers.

My name is Victoria Strode, I am a Mormon, I am a blogger, and I promise to be more true to myself as I continue to write.

New Chapter

Alright folks, for those unaware, I just finished up my second semester of college and called it quits on being a little freshman. I cannot believe how far I have come since this baby picture of me at my High School graduation one year ago. I have officially made it a year on my own, which is particularly amazing because of all the kids moving out of their houses I was probably the least capable of caring for myself but hey look I did it! And look what I accomplished in the meantime:

  • Created AND kept up a blog for 6 months. 6 MONTHS (with a small break)
  • Got and held my first job the entire time I lived in Tempe
  • Moved into my first place on my own and was blessed to meet my best friend, Cece there ❤
  • Chopped my hair off
  • Made it more than halfway through my associates (!)
  • Didn’t die.
  • In general gained a better understanding of myself and more focused idea of what I want and how to get it
  • Made it safely back into my mommy’s arms for the summer

I am busy. I am happy.

Hello! I’m back from my absence. It has been filled with studies, travels, family, and love, love, love!

I am not much less busy, but I cannot stay away from blogging any longer! I’ve grown somewhat attached…

Thanks for those of you who stuck around and please do stick around a bit longer, it’s about to get real.

BRB

I think this picture of my sister in a fountain accurately portrays my disposition these past few weeks. I haven’t been blogging and I probably won’t be until my summer officially begins. So I am just checking in and inviting you to stayed tuned because this summer will be filled with excellent adventures, international travel, fabulous clothing, and all kinds of new experiences.

Be there.

Flash Forward Friday

You’ve heard of “Throwback Thursday” and “Flashback Friday”, but ain’t seen nothing yet. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with utmost pride and deepest pleasure (name that movie!), that I introduce to you,

FLASH FORWARD FRIDAY

10956092_10203095572589252_8605746833394308451_n

It’s a really cool thing I invented out of sheer frustration with school and an extreme case of the it’s-almost-summer blues. It’s pretty simple too. Here is a step-by-step instructional on creating your own flash forward Friday.

1. Cut class (Mom, I would never, ever do this, it’s a bad, bad thing)

2. Put on your summery-est outfit

3. Go to the park

4. Pretend it is June and that everything is okay for a few hours

5. In this time do not think about anything that may interfere with your zen. This includes but is not limited to:     homework, actual work, personal commitments, your shortcomings, mean people..etc.

6. Take a picture. Or like 300.

7. Throughout the next few months, look back at your picture(s) and remember that one time you went to June and how if you can just hold on a bit longer, things will be looking up.

11138527_10203095706952611_8843490579850323696_n

What’s In a Name?

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…so why did I change the name of the blog?

When I began writing, all I wanted to write about my intense, lifelong love affair with vintage clothing, so Vintage Victori was a perfectly appropriate title. But the more I write, the more I want to write. Sometimes I feel weird posting about my travels or other things that are not clothing related, simply because it didn’t fit the content I was advertising with the title and URL I chose.

After much deliberation I landed upon Victori Speech for a couple reasons

1. I am a narcissist so it had to still contain my name. Check.

2. This is my blog, (mostly) my photography, my view on the world, this is my speech.

3. A Victory Speech is what you deliver after you accomplish something great, and that is what I am here to do.

To my vintage fanatics: don’t freak. I am not in any way cutting back on my vintage fashion posts. However, I will be more inclined to include personal adventures, general musings, and maybe some pictures of my lunch.

Turning Dreams into Plans.

When I began writing this blog back in December, I had a sort of vague longing to eventually turn it into an online store after some time. That distant dream has quickly become a much more developed plan that I intend to set in motion within the year. I believe that how we dress ourselves is a way of expressing ourselves, the most widespread art form and I want to support this self expression by opening up a vintage and handmade clothing store. Once the store is up, it will be accessible online, but as it grows I will be selling at flea markets and stores all around the USA and perhaps Europe as well.

Additionally, for every item purchased from my store, I will be sending a lovely handmade dress to young girls in need of clothing, as a way of giving back and expressing gratitude for all that I have been blessed with. Many of the girls I will be sending clothing to have never had their own dress. While I am aware that this cause may not be ground shaking or world changing, when I think of a sweet little child receiving a brand new outfit that is all her own and what that might feel like to her, I know it will make a difference to that one girl, and that is plenty for me.

Here’s the catch: I’m broke. I work in food service and make about enough every month for rent and groceries, its the college life, what can you do? I’ve been saving a bit to get this dream of mine on the road, but at the rate I am going, it could be a couple of years.So I launched a Go Fund Me Campaign last night. A couple generous souls have already donated! If you could spare a couple of dollars for my cause I would be over the moon. If not, I would be thrilled if you could even share it around. Reblog, share the link of facebook, twitter, instagram, whatever your choice platform is. It would mean everything to me if I could raise the means to pursue this dream. Thank you 🙂

Here is the link to my campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/qhj79k