Tuesday, December 8, 2015

christopher james.

 Life is a realization that the universe doesn't owe you anything.

Recently the anniversary of a dear friends passing got me thinking. Though it has been years since he and I were seeing each other regularly and since we had been really close, who and how I am as a person is still deeply affected by him and the relationship we had.

He was the first man I ever fell in love with. He brought joy, he brought an abundance of laughter, he brought happiness to all those around him. He brought me countless adventures with good friends, he taught me important lessons about all aspects of life, he brought me to my beautiful best friend Jacque. I will be forever grateful for all he has done for me and those who knew him. He was an amazing man who changed me and the direction of my life for the better. 

Spending time with my family about 7 years ago (left, right middle) 
and the last time we saw each other in person August of 2014 (right top and bottom)

My life forever changed when he became a part of it in so many ways and there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about the implications of this. Though I don't have this same type of relationship with everyone I have encountered, it is still true that each person I have ever interacted with has changed me in some way, however large or small. 

I believe I am a product of my experiences
and those experiences include being influenced and interacting 
with countless and specific individuals. 

This post is also prompted by the fact I am finishing up my last semester of my undergrad and my last few weeks of living in Utah. I have been here, on and off, since August 2011. Yikes, that seems so long ago. My wonderful husband and I have the amazing opportunity to live in Nashville, TN for his new job that we are both so excited for. We will be leaving December 21st to drive across country to spend Christmas with family in North Carolina (another reason we are so ecstatic) and then sometime in January finalize our move to Tennessee.We are scared (mostly me), we are impatient to get started (mostly him), and we are beyond grateful for what we have ahead of us.

I have met so many wonderful people in the amount of time I have been here, I do not have enough space (let's be real, or the memory) to name them all. Even as I write this I am overwhelmed with the number of individuals who have made a difference in my life, and this is not necessarily just from my experience in college but throughout my entire life. So I want you to know that you've made a difference for me--and maybe you aren't even reading this. And maybe you don't even realize this is about you. Maybe you don't think you meant that much to me. But I hope you are reading this. I hope you are reading this and know exactly what I am talking about and that I am talking about 


And maybe we haven't spoken in ages. Maybe it's been months, or even years since we have seen each other. Maybe we left each other on poor terms or maybe we just slowly went our separate ways. But that doesn't change the fact that you have made a difference in my life. You have forever changed who I am and how I conduct myself. You have brightened my day and strengthened my testimony. You have been my family when they were not close enough to be. You have influenced me in ways you do not even realize and have inspired me to be a better person.You have helped me through college, through finals, through heartache, through blessings, through earth-shattering paradigm shifts, and through freaking Physical Science 100. You have shaped me and not only helped me grow, but you have made me grow. You have potentially pissed me off, but more than likely you have made me laugh. You listened to me when I needed it, or when I was just being annoying, and you validated me. Or called me out for being annoying, which has also been appreciated. On the most minuscule of chances, you have seen me cry and lent me your shoulder. You have invited me on adventures and pushed me to try new things. You have engaged with me and changed my perspective. You have shared a part of yourself and allowed me to do the same. You have been an example to me in numerous ways and you have been noticed, and not only that, but appreciated.

Even though I am leaving BYU and Utah, moving on with my life, and potentially never seeing you again, I will not go a single day without thinking about you. And maybe it is not your face or your name that I think of, but it will be the influence you have had in my life, however significant, or otherwise, it was.

 An iconic Utah picture, simply for the fact it is the Provo LDS temple.

In the most recent Avengers movie (yeah, this is happening right now) a character says of human beings that we somehow see chaos and order as opposites, even though that isn't necessarily the case. That bothered me for such a long time. This just a few weeks ago I was at a symposium put on by the English department at BYU and heard a presentation given on the idea that as we age, we tend to have this expectation to be less creative and instead be more logical; in other words, we exchange our imagination for reason. Along this same vein, a talk was given in my ward recently and in it I was challenged to become a person who looks at both blessings and trials, and doesn't see the difference.

The idea that chaos, trials, and imagination are opposites of order, blessings, and reason has become quite ridiculous to me. I am at a point in my life where I'm truly not quite seeing the difference.

Yes, being reasonable can get things done (like all of the packing I need to get done in the next week and a half that I haven't started yet), but the imagination is what drives us to innovate. Yes, this move across country will be chaotic, but it's all part of a bigger, better, and more important plan. Yes, this new home will be a trial for so many reasons, but the door it is opening is already looking to be more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined.

The point of this seemingly endless rant is, I'll miss you. I'll think of you and I will remember you. I want you to know in all that you have done for me in my life

you have been a blessing. 

Maybe you've been a trial at times, too, but right now and hopefully for the rest of my life, I'm not quite seeing the difference.

There ya go.

Monday, March 9, 2015

the mission I am serving.

Life is never what we expect it to be.

So, it has been years since I posted on here. I honestly thought I would be gone, even almost back from an LDS mission. Ideally in a foreign country, teaching the gospel in a foreign tongue.

But I didn't.

These past couple years I have watched all 5 of my freshman roommates go off on missions; Houston TX, Riverside CA, Guatemala, Atlanta GA, and Vancouver WA. They are all doing very well and loving serving the Lord. Most of them have actually returned from their missions at this point. They were the ones I knew before my time in Europe and they all left. Mind you, I made other friends and such so it's fine, but I thought I would be right along with them. Not here. Not in Utah.

When I came back to Provo, to BYU, I had already started my papers. I knew I was supposed to go on a mission... right? I had to. That was my plan all along. I would hit 21 (well, the age change caused a bit of a change in those plans), have my papers done, and I would be gone for 18 months with a name tag on. Well, that was my plan as of December 2012. It is now March 2015.

So, "what happened?" you ask (maybe you didn't ask but I'm going to tell you anyway).

Turns out, the Lord has a better plan for me than I do.

I only had my doctor appointments left and final interviews before my papers would actually be finished. One day, I felt prompted to pray about serving a mission. I thought it was kind of weird, but hey, never postpone a righteous prompting. So, I prayed about serving a mission and the overwhelming of peace came over me along with an answer.


No, you will not be serving a mission.

No, you will not be following through with the plans you have had since you were 12 years old.


I cried. A lot. I was so confused. I prayed for a couple more weeks, just regarding whether or not to serve a mission. I didn't keep praying because I wasn't sure--oh, I knew for sure that I was no longer going. I just didn't like that answer. I wanted to go anyway.

But I didn't. I stayed in Provo. I met a wonderful guy and we dated for a year and a half before parting ways, realizing that we weren't supposed to continue together. I added an Anthropology minor to my English major. I've worked as a teaching assistant for the Anthropology department for over a year now. I became reunited with my motorcycle and brought down a car from Seattle last summer. I traveled to Texas for the first time ever and loved it. I watched three very dear and amazing women in my life get married to very worthy and wonderful men. I realized I want to continue my education and end up working in the field of social work. I've found things out about myself I didn't know and would not have known had I gone on a mission.

I have been where I was supposed to be. I have done the things I was meant to do. And most importantly, I have met the people I was meant to meet.

Which brings me to the main point of this post: this past August, I met Lane.

Ugh, he's adorable and I am so in love with him. But that was definitely not how he and I started out (insert light chuckling). We met at a game night the first Sunday he moved to Utah. See, his sister Kristin is really good friends with one of my best friends Lindsey, the hostess of these game nights. Lindsey invited Kristin and since Lane just got into Provo, knowing no one else but his sister and brother-in-law who he was living with, she invited Lane as well. So, there we were, that August 23rd, that Sunday night, with my friends and this attractive new kid with tattoos and not much of a verbal filter.

Now, he'll tell you I hated him and didn't like him at all. Which is completely untrue. A few weeks after meeting, he would text me or call me throughout the week to see if I wanted to hang out, to get dinner, to do whatever. I honestly was just really busy and he wasn't a priority in my life. He wasn't even a thought in my mind. I didn't know him nearly at all and at the time, he was not active in the LDS church and I was not about to get close to a cute boy who couldn't take me to the temple.

Eventually, I found more time to spend with Lane. He was dang persistent, I tell you. At one point we had a conversation where he admitted he had feelings for me, strong enough to pursue a relationship. I said, straight up, I am not going to date anyone who cannot take me to the temple (implying that I won't date anyone who I couldn't see marrying in an LDS temple). I think he took that as a bit of a challenge, because he started coming to church with me. His interest to come back to church existed before my saying that, but my encouragement was the tipping point, I suppose.

He has since been coming to church regularly. His church records were transferred into my ward and started talking with the bishop. He now holds a calling, is a worthy priesthood holder, and attends the temple regularly. He is an avid student of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. He is a dedicated home teacher, a regular attendee to FHE, and says some of the sweetest, most beautiful, sincere prayers I have ever heard.

He persisted in becoming my close friend, and when that was not enough, he continued to push to be my boyfriend, and now he has become my fiancé, having asked me to be my husband and eternal companion. From that, I am sure you gathered that I said yes.

Lane and I are planning to be sealed as husband and wife for all time and eternity on April 25th, 2015 in the Seattle temple. I could not be happier or more excited.

In retrospect, everything I did up until this moment has prepared me for this wonderful man and the future we are going to have together. The mission I am serving is the life I am leading, the steps I take every day, the people I interact with, the intentions of my heart in every moment.

And this next step in my mission... is becoming a Queen.

There ya go.