January 29, 2015
there's a ted talk entitled "10 things i know to be true" - and it has sparked a lot of discussions across the internet - asking, what are your ten things you know to be true? things that you are 100%, you are totally sure of?
i have spent hours scrolling through forums, page after page, reading other people's lists. every list is like a door into that stranger's soul. it surprised me that i agreed with almost everything written down, by all of these randoms across the world. i know that truth is all relative, but perhaps we are all closer to one center point than we think?
i came across points that made me think, ones that made me laugh, but there was usually one point on everyone's list about love. (and a LOT about choice. people have strong convictions about taking responsibility for your own choices, creating your own world, not blaming others for things that go wrong, and i love that about humanity.) love seems to be the central theme of life in general, don't you think?
here are a few, taken from some lists that i found intriguing:
>> "Loving someone or something heart and soul does not necessarily make it good for you, or them, or it."
>> "Learning is fun but UNlearning is good for you."
>> "The truth is always more complex and nuanced than we first think."
>> "The most important thing you can teach anyone is how to learn on their own."
>>"I must be happy with that imperfection, as it suggests there is always room for self improvement."
>> "Love is the most simple yet most complex phenomenon on earth which everyone gets but no one understands."
and here is my list:
1. every human has a story worth hearing and can add good things to your life.
2. i was created for a purpose. i have things to do on this earth and a destiny, so to speak, to fulfill.
3. the gospel is the solution to nearly every problem we face on this earth.
4. there is never a time where kindness isn't the right path. people who are not kind will pay for it.
5. a good workout can always make you feel better about life. endorphins are real.
6. working hard and being passionate makes a happy person.
7. art can change the world; it can make you feel things nothing else can.
8. being well read makes you a better human - in every aspect of life.
9. being in love is the most fulfilling human emotion - the second is inspiration.
10. 99% of one's success and happiness lies in how they chose to respond to hardships.
January 27, 2015
last thursday, my family drove down from boise and picked me up in salt lake so we could head home to colorado! our first stop in fort collins was obviously pizza. (beau jo's - best crust, hands down.)
my baby sister and i shared a room so that we could cuddle and watch disney channel on the ipad at night. (i woke up one morning to find her literally hooked on to me like a monkey and snoring. also, next week we can have a 3 sister sleepover. ashlyn is almost home!) it was all good family bonding time.
cindy's funeral was tasteful, and very emotional. (a three hour nap afterwards didn't do it for me. crying just sucks it all out of you.) danielle has been so classy and so strong and so poised through this entire ordeal. i have been blown away by the way she has handled this and have a new found respect for her - what a woman! watching my dad be a pallbearer was especially sweet, too.
as is expected, this whole weekend draws into focus a few specific questions: am i living my life the way i want to? am i running myself ragged to become the person i want to be? am i really taking advantage of all i have? do i fully appreciate jordan & my family? i am re-motivated to exhaust my life of all it's happiness, and all it's worth.
we ended the trip with some cinnamon roll french toast (literally a dream come true for me) and a quick drive-by of the new fort collins temple. it was a whirlwind and i was so glad to be back in jordan's arms - but so grateful for the opportunity to stand by good friends and be reminded of how wonderful this life really is.
January 22, 2015
first and foremost - we are SENIORS! technically even seniors and a half, because after this semester we only have 6 credits left. i can't believe the day has come. (and i can't believe this is the only time we've done "first day of school" photos.) also, fab cheetah crutches.
i was a little apprehensive about posting this picture (hi, morning face and no makeup) but i received some really positive feedback in the form of facebook comments and texts. hooray for building each other up! check out the article here.
mindy kaling, i have a FAT girl crush on you.
this picture is from december - but look at that fog! dreeeeamy.
a saturday spent carb-loading with my best girls. we spent lunch making a "grown up list" of all the things we should do now that we're in our mid-twenties. (get insurance, make budgets, not sleeping in until noon, & generally not act like 15 year olds. you know, adult stuff.)
don't mind us, just becoming regulars at the hospital. jordan had an inflamed lung a few weeks ago, but when we walked in to the doctor's they all looked at ME with the crutches and asked what they could do. HAHA. i taught sunday school that day, and crutched/hobbled in husband-less, explaining that jordan was at insta-care. i think like 4 people offered to bring us dinner that day. (we are usually not this big of a crisis!)
59 degrees last sunday say what?? the utah weather has been killing it lately! being able to limp around outside a few times has been HUGE for my cabin fever. and yes, i have been taking my boot off, contrary to my doctors orders. #rebellife
we took advantage of MLK day and did a quick puppy barn/lunch date with some good friends. guys, i am not an animal person. i have never had much of an affinity towards cats or dogs, and i certainly don't get attached to them. (eeee don't hate me! my poor husband, he's like an animal whisperer and i doubt we will ever have pets.) but those puppies melted my black heart! they were SO snuggly and jumped up for you as soon as you set them down - my heart was in a puddle on the floor by the time we left. we picked our favorite black puppy, named him, and vowed to come back and buy him. (except then he pooped right as we left and i was quickly reminded of a reason i don't like animals - they stink! so sorry houston, i changed my mind.) however - we will be back for you, puppy barn. thanks for the recommendation, kiely!
we have spent a lot of evenings in this month, since most physical activity is not in my cards. we've watched a few documentaries and started the office, (i'm an office virgin, can you believe it? it's so funny!) we've cooked a little more and i've been picking up my paints. it's been slow and calm and perfect.
a few other great things:
>> i started hauling my bum leg to the gym! it's been so great to finally feel some endorphins moving around my body and i could do a gentle squat yesterday. maybe this sounds minuscule and maybe i sound like a tool bag, but exercise. i have missed it so much, it feels so good to be moving again!
>> we got a raclette for christmas. (i didn't know what it was either, but it's this cool thing.) we have already had people over several times to grill steak and shrimp - and jordan's been a little chef, whipping up sauces from scratch and rubs for the meat. the raclette is like his baby, and it's really fun to watch him develop a talent for cooking. (since heaven knows i will never be the cook of this family.)
>> we've gotten all of our friends hooked on our favorite card game, canadian salad. if you love card games, it's a must!
January 20, 2015
this past week provided a great juxtaposition in my life, in 2 short days.
wednesday we attended a "gender reveal" party for my dear friend annie. here's a picture of the moment of reveal:
it's a girl! (and check out my stream of silly string - i'm in the pink coat. i loved this moment!)
we celebrated the life annie and her husband are bringing into this world, and spent a lot of the night speculating what her baby girl elle will look like, what her personality will be, and the myriads of possibility that lay ahead for her life. it's a fresh start for this baby girl, and it's a chance for her parents to step up and call on their heavenly father's help. it's so exciting and i am so thrilled for this new family. they will be perfect parents.
the next day, a close family friend passed away.
i received a call from my best friend & childhood buddy danielle while i was getting my eyebrows waxed. we play phone tag constantly, so i thought nothing of it - but then when the voicemail signal beeped, my heart dropped and i knew what the news was. her mom has fought with cancer for years, and a few weeks ago they finally stopped the rigorous treatment and put her in hospice to essentially wait out the end of her life. we didn't think it would be this soon, though.
intellectually, we all knew this day would come - and heartless as it sounds, sometimes i wished the day would come. danielle moved home to take care of her mother and, although i absolutely believe she did the right thing, she has been miserable and bored and not moving forward with her life. she has spent her days sitting by her mother's side, having infinite amounts of time to worry. i wanted danielle back in utah, with me, progressing, finding reasons to be happy.
yet when the moment came, i could feel no relief - only grief for danielle. one of the first things she cried over the phone was that her kids will never know their grandma, and i realized how short sided i had been, how permanent this news must feel to her. how permanent it really is. i've experienced death a few times in my life, and it's always such a different experience - it's hard to even lump it into one category, death.
i was so grateful for the opportunity to be the first one to cry with danielle over the news. i got to be the one to tell her that i was sorry and life isn't fair and it's okay to feel mad. it was all a very spiritual experience, and i could feel the moment being tattooed in my brain as one i will never forget. it's a moment that has a lot more weight than most, in the grand scheme of things. i felt the weight of the moment fuse me to danielle, over the phone through hundreds of miles. as if braving our middle-school awkward stages together didn't bond us enough, i felt an un-shakable connection to danielle that night.
my heart felt heavy all night into the next day, but it all felt natural. the experience seemed to coincide so effortlessly with the experience of celebrating a new life just the night before - life moves on, it stops for no one. it keeps moving - and as danielle experiences grief, a whole new chapter of her life opens up. death is a fresh start for her - a chance to call upon her heavenly father for help and push through to become stronger and more solid in who she is, what she believes.
“everything's a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping... always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. that's the way it's supposed to be. that's the way it is.”
and if nothing else was gained from all of this, i felt a strange perspective - one experienced from time to time, where you just feel like this is all so, completely, "earthly" for lack of a better word. it all feels impermanent. danielle, her mother, those new parents, myself - we are much more than this earthly experience, it's merely a chapter. it's a little hard to explain the feeling completely - but it's as if there is a tugging from pre-mortal life, and a tugging from beyond this life. the two sets of pressure just shake things into the right light, and then they don't feel so heavy. i'm SO grateful for that perspective, for the light of eternal families, for the wonderful influence that cindy has been for so many years in my life, and for the chance to stand with danielle this weekend as we memorialize a beautiful life. (and i'm holding my mama extra tight when i see her tomorrow!)
January 15, 2015
loving: the new issue of “be wise” that went live last sunday. (check it out HERE!!) inner and outer beauty is a subject that i am super passionate about – and i am so pleased with the way this issue turned out. the positive message is just shining in this one, and i’m really proud of my features. (the above pictures were featured as part of our “i love my _____” campaign, and i love my laugh lines!)
working: on meditating for 15 minutes each day, to clear my mind and keep me more focused. ok, meditation is hard!! what the? my mind works at approximately 10,000 mph and getting it to go blank, even for 5 seconds at a time, is a real challenge. even if i can’t technically do it right, just sitting for a few minutes, letting my heart rate come down, and closing my eyes has left me feeling refreshed.
cooking: homemade swig suger cookies for a few colleagues that are leaving this week. the recipe is on point, and can be found here.
reading: “mrs. kennedy: the missing history of the kennedy years.” i saw this book on someone’s instagram last week and it has rekindled my obsession with the kennedy’s. my husband just rolled his eyes and said “here we go again.” HAHAH. why are they the most fascinating humans to ever walk the earth?
listening to: lots of nat king cole and louis armstrong and ella fitzgerald. perfect for cozy winter days.
also on repeat: prayer in c by lilly wood and the prick (the chilliest.) and uptown funk by mark ronson. (randomly the best jam-out song EVER.)
laughing at: my phone autocorrecting “breadsticks” to “breasts” this morning. sorry, friends.
looking forward to: a few road trips coming up – santa barbara and vail, colorado. (and gas is so cheap, that when you’re splitting it between friends, it’s practically free!)
appreciating: my husband. he has been such a champ as his cripple wife lays in bed and wallows about her broken ankle every night. (pain + lack of activity hasn’t really been great.) he’s taken care of the dishes, picking up around the apartment, carrying me to bed so i don’t have to hobble, extra-long back rubs, pep talks, putting on my boot for me so i don’t have to bend over, getting up early to assist me in getting ready, the list goes on. if i’m to learn anything from this experience, it’s to fully appreciate all that he is, and all that he does. hashtag he’s the bomb.
craving: THE GYM. i’ve been trying to keep up with arm/ab workouts at home, but my body is feeling that lack of endorphins from an intense spin class, or even just 15 minutes of good cardio. hey ankle, hurry it up will ya? i’m getting depressed!
looking forward: more and more to living in the bay this summer. san fran is such a magical place, and i think we’re going to have so much fun there!
excited: for my sister to get home! you guys, it’s SO CLOSE. (2 weeks and 4 days to be exact.) if i think about it too long, i start to get mega excited and distracted. it’s going to be the most glorious moment of my life… but i’m just going to try & put it out of my mind for now so i can get things done. (now i'm having a mini seizure. she's coming home!!!!)
experiencing: a really bad case of stranger danger. i think it's great that everyone in provo is friendly and helpful, but if one more stranger asks me what happened - so help me. (i know, i'm so ungrateful. they're just trying to be nice!) i just really don't love talking to strangers. and walking around friendly- town on crutches is like wearing a neon sign "WILL TALK TO WEIRD STRANGERS. ANYONE, COME START UP A CONVERSATION ABOUT MY BROKEN FOOT." i am super grateful for any stranger who will open doors for me though. god bless those strangers! staggering in a room as the door smacks one side of your body has been my awkward first-impression in every class this semester. everyone in the class is like, oh hello cripple crisis.
wearing: colored socks. i didn’t realize how good of an idea white/black socks would be until i started wearing a boot everyday – so i’ve got a shoe on one side, and a neon sock popping out of my boot on the other side. i find it charming. :)
experiencing: a feeling of balance. my life is getting back into a place of harmony – where the most important things are coming first. it feels good.
January 13, 2015
January 6, 2015
man, i love myself a fresh start. my favorite time to set new goals is in sync with the new school year, but a brand new year is a close second. everyone rallies around and posts all of these inspiring ideas about making your life better - and although a lot of those goals will be forgotten by the second week of january, i still think it's hopeful. people trying to improve themselves, even if they don't succeed, is a powerful thing. it's motivating.
i saw "simplify and magnify" on pinterest i think, and i wrote it in the notes in my phone to be revisited. although i like to make specific goals, i also like the idea of trying out a theme for the year. i want that to be it: simplify & magnify. i wish to cut the excess from my life and focus on what's most important to me - the gospel, my marriage, relationships that uplift me, and succeeding in my school & work life. my other, more definitive goals are as follows:
>> slow. the. heck. down. i'm a little forced into doing this right now, seeing as that i can't so much as walk by myself. take one thing at a time, and stop cramming so much into one day. spread it out. relax a little, and learn to say no in order to fully commit yourself to things worth saying yes to.
>> stop comparing yourself - to your husband, to your friends, to girls on the internet that seem to have it all together, travel like it's their job, and go on 4-5 photograph-able outings per week. be happy for other people's success and be grateful for your wonderful life. it's enough, and it's perfect for you.
>> worry more about being kind than having lots of friends or being "in" with everyone. friendships fade, kindness does not. words are powerful - choose only the best when talking to others.
>> focus on turning hardships into learning experiences. don't stay in the "why is this happening to me" phase for very long before twisting it into a positive way to become stronger, more courageous, more confident, and more experienced. stars can't shine without darkness, right?
>> be loyal. (this is one of my favorite traits about my husband and i want to mirror it.) don't let bad words be said about people you love, especially not from yourself. support them fiercely, in everything they do.
>> don't be afraid to cut people out. oh i just used to roll my eyes as people that preached "let go of those that hold you back." i had never really experienced "mean girls" outside of middle school until this year - and i thought that any relationship was worth the price. if it wasn't working, you were always to blame. everyone has so much good in them, and i still believe that. but this year, i was nearly forced to fade some people out, because their actions were poison to my life. it's still hard, to this day. but sometimes it's not your fault that other people are mean. you just have to let go and move on to positive things - trying to fix it only robs you of more happiness. this was probably the biggest lesson i learned this year - and it was a tough one. you really are the company you keep - and "simplifying" by letting some people fade has allowed me to "magnify" the good relationships i am blessed to have.
>> work harder at cultivating a beautiful spirit. be more in tune with others, think beautiful thoughts, have a forgiving attitude, be a "can-do" person. find the gold in people, be a class-a sympathizer, do things out of intent and not out of habit. basically, be a better person. "be as you wish to seem."
>> & the goal i make every year - try a little harder. be a little better. work a little longer, give a little more effort. have a little more courage, be a little more positive. have a little more fun. fall a little more in love with life.
aaaand, now for a quick recap of last year:
i know i know, it's january 6th and doing a year in review should bring me like, bad karma or something. but i just need to take a second and be thankful - we traveled to san francisco, portland, new york city, mexico and the caribbean, and (for just me) alaska. we camped, we hiked, we went boating and biking and to concerts.we made new friends, i ran a half marathon, we were both awarded scholarships for this school year. we sent jordan's sister on a mission. i worked at ksl and had THE most incredible time. we survived (barely) investment banking recruiting and jordan got a great offer with citi bank. we celebrated 2 amazing years as bff's. we celebrated birthdays and christmas a ridiculous amount, and spent the last day of 2014 cheering on boise state to win their 3rd fiesta bowl in arizona. (we also went to school and worked somewhere in there, ha!) it was full of beautiful experiences - and i can't wait to see what 2015 will bring us. (a move to san francisco and graduation is this year...so i have a feeling it will be pretty great.)
January 4, 2015
this christmas was the most magical of all the christmases since we have been married. we decided that, since the second week of break would be spent in arizona with jordan's family, we would spend the first week (almost) exclusively with mine. it was like...what? no pressure to get up early and squeeze all the daylight in? we can lounge and watch tv without someone tapping their foot or checking their watch? no driving back and forth? i could grocery shop with my mom for heaven's sake!! i don't know. this felt like vacation to me, no expectations, no frantic speeding to one house, very minimal guilt. it was glorious.
on christmas eve, we went to a christian service. we lit candles, sang hymns, took communion. (it should be noted that during a prayer, my dad was trying to light things on fire with his candle. he's a little irreverent sometimes, but holy cow we have a good time together.) we came home, read the christmas story, read a christmas book, decorated gingerbread men, all of our cozy, classic traditions. we fell asleep to home alone after dragging all of our mattresses in the rec room for a giant sleepover in our matchy jammies.
also noteworthy: a blizzard started about 5pm on the night of christmas eve. it was like the perfect end to a cheesy hallmark movie - we all ran outside, caught flakes on our tongues, and spun around excitedly. christmas morning, we ripped open the blinds to find a perfect white blanket of marshmallow - framed by that big, clear, blue, boise sky. i had a little moment to myself that morning where i just stared outside and said a silent prayer in gratitude for this perfect world.
we skyped with our missionary as soon as the presents were opened and tissue paper thrown away. the only damper on this holiday was the fact that ashlyn could have come home, but ended up deciding to return february 3rd instead. oh, those blasted 5 weeks! we wanted her home! i felt like we all manned up and took her decision in stride, though. our talk with her was happy, full of laughter and palpable anticipation for her return.
the days following were full of overeating and movies, the temple, bonding time with my red-headed pre-teen sister and life chats with my mom in the steam room at the gym. on sunday, we experience a blanket of fog that was eery and beautiful. it didn't lift until the next day, and so the sunset that night was hazy and purple and quaint. it maybe could have been the perfect setting for a murder scene, except it flirted the line from spooky to spellbinding.
that same night i was painting with my little sister mia, when we decided we should utilize the hour of fog-laiden sunlight left, and the inch of snow left on the ground. we bundled, built a mini snowman, and shoveled the driveway as a surprise gift for dad. then we drug a sled to the golf course behind our backyard and went down a few times on the puny little hill.
the air had turned from misty to murky, and we decided to head in. "one more run," i told mia, "and we will go." i stood on the sled and started my slow descent. about 3/4 of the way down, my foot slipped and caught underneath the sled. i felt it twist around and heard 2 sickening cracks. immediately, i fell to the ground and warned my sister - i'm going to yell in pain for a minute, but then i'll be done and we can go in. (is that weird?) anyway, i proceeded to scream for a few minutes, breathing heavy in between and telling mia that the pain was going down, and we could go in really soon. i am a total drama queen when it comes to pain - & since i've sprained my ankle multiple times, i figured it was just a nasty sprain. they hurt, okay??
i came in and my ankle was HUGE. like, what my foot would look like if it was in a fat suit. i couldn't put any weight on it, but figured i'd give it the night and it would be healed. we were going up in the mountains to sled at one of those fancy sledding places - you know, where you get pulled up the hill and there's swerving tracks and everything? i was NOT about to miss out on that. but 7 am rolled around and my ankle was even bigger and painful and, after a long wait at the hospital, we found out it was broken.
my mom approached me, almost sheepishly, and asked if i'd like to stay with them instead of drive to arizona with my in laws the next day. they could take care of me, keep my off of my feet, and drive me back down to utah whenever i needed. obviously i wasn't about to miss out on a trip, and a game that my husband had been anticipated for months.
but for some reason that i haven't yet been able to identify, this outreach -- it really touched me. big deal - my mom wanted to take care of me. that's a very mom-ish thing to do. but for the first time that i can remember, i wanted my mom to take care of me. i wanted to stay home and be nurtured and enjoy the comforts of home for as long as possible. i have always been extremely independent from my family, and especially since i've been married i live by this philosophy of "i'm an adult, i can take care of myself." i adore my family, but for the most part - i don't rely on them for much.
the desire to stay home and have my mom take care of me took me by surprise. it's as if this wall of independence that i have worked so hard to build fell away, all in one moment. a lot of needs that i have consistently pushed away came rushing in, and although it's extremely difficult for me to put into words - vulnerability keeps coming to mind. i was vulnerable to them, to my parents, in a way that i have never been. it pulled at my heartstrings, but letting myself feel all of that, i think that it made me better. i keep coming back to a quote i've heard, “The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” and maybe when it comes to my family, i should demonstrate that.
as soon as my siblings could tell i was grappling with the decision, they begged for me to stay and i sobbed as i told them that i needed to go. my ticket had been purchased and i had made a commitment. i still question if staying home would have been the best option, but overall i decided to slap on a good attitude and enjoy the rest of my break. and i did - the game was a knockout success (jordan was so excited about boise's win that he couldn't sleep that night haha) and i got a few long-overdue chats with cousins. (i even got the golf-cart vip treatment to and from the stadium!)
everything about this break, even the long hours in the car, was just good. good good good. cheers to a new year, cheers to arizona sunshine, and cheers to being more vulnerable and other life skills i am learning. happy 2015!