Monday, June 2, 2014

An Interruptable Life

Yeah, starting this post with a made up spelling in the title. That's how this is going down.

Yesterday in church we were talking about the story of Ruth. The part that struck me the most was not how Naomi and Orpah stuck with her after the deaths of their husbands, but how she was known for her character. Ruth was the type of woman that if someone accused her of doing or saying something with malice, no one would believe it.

That lead to a discussion of how to cultivate such characteristics within ourselves and someone brought up the idea of "living for others and being willing to have an interruptable life". We make ourselves increasingly busy with things that don't really matter so when we get that inkling to reach out to a friend or take a moment to make someone's day brighter, we can't possibly take that time because of how it might delay our plans. It's incredibly easy to get caught up in our plans and dismiss the opportunities to be a positive light in someone's life because it takes effort away from those goals.

This is where having a life that can be interrupted comes in to play. There have been several times in my life where I can say without question that my friends or family have interrupted their lives to reach out to me when they felt I needed it. They've pretty much always been right. I cherish those times and am (at least temporarily) inspired to follow their example. I want to be the sort of person who isn't so busy trying to further my own interests that I ignore promptings to put my life on pause and uplift another. 

So that's just it - be willing to have an interruptable life and see how your life changes when you change the lives of others.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Movies That Always Make Me Cry

I like a good movie cry. They are tragic, and cleansing, and usually involve fictional characters. Last week my roommate and I saw The Monuments Men and at one point I left out an audible sob - it's cool, the theater wasn't too packed. That got me thinking that I should post my list of "go to" sob fest movies in case anyone who reads this blog needs a good cry.  

I only chose movies that I would watch over and over again. They touched my heart for a variety of reasons but normally the tears fall because someone lovely and worthy of life ends up dying. Or movies about oppression - sheesh, those get me every time! 

So next time you need that deep, soul wrenching cry, please turn to my list, grab the tissues, and cry like no one is watching!

Million Dollar Baby
Steel Magnolias
The Green Mile
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Shawshank Redemption
The Help
Dead Poets Society
My Girl
Seven Pounds
Romeo and Juliet
Boy in the Striped Pajamas

(be careful with these, they involve real people)
Dear Zachary
We Were Here
The Cove

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Blogging Break

(I took this at the Korean War Memorial)

One day, I just stopped.

Blogging became something I didn't enjoy and it didn't seem worth the effort. I had changed, yet whenever I posted something I was still trying to come from the perspective of who I used to be. Living in this area for the past 3.5 years has been extremely challenging on all accounts and the turmoil has rewritten my personality and changed the core of who I am. I could no longer sustain posting from the voice of who I was when I was transitioning to someone quite different. 

So I'm leaving.

I moved to DC knowing that it was the right place for me. I will never doubt that God told me to be here, so I happily moved because I figured He would illuminate the purpose for my relocation. The difficulty of the past few years has made me wonder if He just needed me to be stronger - to fall and pick myself back up with His help, and to learn things about myself that He couldn't teach me any other way. 

For the past 8 months I have felt that I am no longer in the right place. After having been obsessed with DC for several years it was odd to fall out of love with a place I never expected to leave. People would always ask, "How long do you think you'll be in DC?" and my answer would be, "Until someone gives me a reason to leave". Ha! When you have the feeling of being out of sync with where you live it is tough to stay because it effects every area of your life. I looked at going back to San Diego and gave Arizona very serious consideration, but Salt Lake feels right. Before I could make the official decision I had to take this to the Lord. He wanted me here so He had to release me and let me know that it was alright for me to leave. I prayed for several days with no answer and then one night I felt it. Not in my heart or mind, but in my stomach - weird, but perfect. My roommate, Hannah, said that knowing me, that was the most trustworthy place to receive a spiritual prompting. She couldn't be more right!

I am thrilled with this new adventure I will soon be undertaking. Leaving DC will be difficult because I still absolutely love this city. Too bad it didn't love me back. Okay, that's dramatic. The city is wonderful and charming, but it will still always represent a tough but enriching time. Just over the weekend I was walking around, marveling at the beautiful details of our nation's capital city. I love it, I will always love it, but it's time for a new chapter.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Please Stop Saying This to Single People

We seem to live in a society that feels it appropriate to ask intimate questions of people we barely know. I'm not talking about your actual friends because they mean well and they know you, but there seems to be an epidemic of casual acquaintances making statements or posing questions that hurt, and seem more nosy than out of concern. If we're not close, don't ask. If you really want to know, start bringing me donuts and we'll definitely get closer, and then you can ask.

I blame Facebook. Not really, this has been an issue long before Facebook but can we all agree that Facebook does give us a sense of deserving to know more about our "friends" than we actually do? Great. Now that we've agreed with me, let's talk about this not so pressing issue on this blog that no one reads.

(and a quick reminder - if a good friend say these things, it's fine, NOT a casual acquaintance!)

Things to stop saying to single people

"I just don't know why you're not married". This is a tricky one because it's posed as a compliment. You think I'm great therefore, why hasn't someone snatched me up, right? But I've probably only shown you my charming side or my super hilarious side. Real talk - I watch a lot of TV and eat a lot of ice cream. Attractive and appealing, right? Other side of the coin would like to point out that there are A LOT of lame people who get married. A. LOT. So by saying this you make it seem like marriage is some exclusive club just for the coolest, prettiest, funniest, smartest, and all around "est" people. This one is definitely allowable if coming from a good friend because they know your best and they know your worst. Oh, and I know why I'm not married - I haven't met him yet. The end.

"You need to love yourself first and then you can love someone else". Again - are you saying that all married people have this figured out? All pre-married people completely and totally accepted themselves as is (as are?) and then *poof!* Mr Right landed in their lap? I call shenanigans. Yes, loving and accepting yourself is far more attractive to those doing the pursuing but it's not a guarantee. If this were the case, all marriage self help books would contain just this super useful information. Also, to someone who is struggling with happiness, this is far more detrimental than helpful. The battle to love yourself is a daily struggle for many people so to say this to someone looking for love, it feels like an unreachable goal just gets further and further away every time you think a negative thought.

"It happened when I stopped looking". Cool. That's the story you remember but I've had many, many, many roommates get married and none of them would say this. First of all, as a girl the concept of looking is different than it is for guys. We are not the pursuers so your advice to basically give up is confusing because I WASN'T DOING ANYTHING ANYWAY. Secondly, back to my comment about my roommates. Something I've noticed about married people is that some of them tend to romanticize their single life. "You're so lucky! Dating is so fun!" No it's not, and I guarantee that you hated it when you were single too. You just remember life differently now. It happens in almost all aspects of life. Ever heard of "the good 'ol days"? Of course you have, the future is a mystery, the present is a mess, so let's change our memories of the past so that we can put it on a pedestal and have some sliver of happiness to cling to because if not, we have a mess and a mystery to focus on.

"Have you tried online dating?". Stop. This directly contradicts the one we just hashed out. Stop looking but maybe look online. What? Also, if you know me well, you know online is a scary place for me. So if you don't know me well, you see this as a viable option. Since you don't know me well, please don't ask this.

"If you aren't happy single, you'll never be happy in a relationship". Again, married people are not the ones who figured out the key to happiness. Happiness is not only afforded to a marriage certificate! Some married people are even *gasp!* unhappy! And happiness is not a permanent state of being - it's something to ebb and flow throughout our time on Earth. All these questions do is to make it seem like the only source for happiness is to be married. Granted, it's a club I wouldn't mind joining but by framing it as the all encompassing reason to live and without it there's no way to be happy, you're only making us feel worse.

Here's what this all comes down to - we should probably stop giving unsolicited advice to people we don't really know. If any of my good girlfriends said any of the above mentioned phrases it would be welcomed and we could have a real life discussion about my real life. My walls are down and I know they are coming from a place of genuine love and concern for me. 

Added bonus -
Stop asking married people -
"When are you going to have a baby?"
"Have you considered adoption? There are lots of babies that need love"
"When are you having your next?"

Can we all agree that anyone else's fertility and family planning are NO one else's business?!? At least being single I'm not having to field these questions!

Saturday, September 7, 2013


The last time I visited my family I went over to my grandpa's house. When I was younger I thought my grandpa was the tallest man on Earth but now that he is 95 he has slowed down and shrunk quite a bit. He moved to an assisted living facility a couple of years ago because of those factors.  On that same visit I went to see him and he told me I looked like a librarian, so obviously his sense of humor is still intact.

He has a shop in the basement of the house where he worked on lots of different side businesses, one of them being stamp making. The shop always scared me because there's a deer head mounted on the wall and some of the machinery looks like it would gladly take off a few of your knuckles. 

When I was down there a thought came to me - when was the very last time Grandpa was down here? Did he know it would be his last time in the basement when he ascended the stairs and turned out the light? 

That then led me to think about lasts. We tend to mark with triumph the firsts in our lives but lasts are not recognized, largely because we never know when they happen. Think about this - as a kid, when was the last time you truly played outside? How did you one day decide to play hopscotch and night games with the neighborhood kids, then the next decide to stay in? 

I can't think about this stuff too much because I start to make mental lists of all the lasts and then I get sad. I don't like being sad. 

Just some weird thoughts to send out to the internet on a Saturday night. G'night.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Independence Day and a Baptism!

I told so many lies leading up to this trip I couldn't keep them all straight. It was awesome! I told my parents I wouldn't be able to make the trip because of all the traveling I've done so far this year. I even went so far as to take a photo of myself in DC and send it to my mom the morning of the 4th with the caption, "Happy Independence Day from DC!". I'm so sneaky.

Independence Day is a big, big deal in my family. We have a strong military legacy in our family so this is pretty much unanimously our favorite holiday. Especially because Cache Valley knows how to throw a party! As do the Johnsons.

Naomi and Grant. This picture makes me so happy.

Oh my darling Grant, please don't ever grow up. 

The Gosselins came up for the day! It's always fun to have more friends (especially friends with squishy babies) around for eating and the festivities.

Sweet, sweet Haven

And Julie came too! I know Julie from DC (we're kind of heterosexual life partners) but she's in Utah for the summer. Having her and Ashley around for the day was incredible. They fit in with my family seamlessly.

I tried to get pictures with his face in it but he kept wanting to show me his sugary hand!

Family = lots of eating

Owen found a trail of ants so the boys had to investigate. Isn't this the cutest picture!?!

Two days later we went to my sister's house for my niece's baptism. It was such a special weekend!

Naomi and Haven's new puppy, Cookie.

Haven's big day! My mom made her dress.

Naomi wanted pictures too!

Dad and Grant

Porter on the way to the church

Selfies with Haven

This lady has a fabulous future ahead of her!

Some of my favorite people. They have my whole heart.

Cute, cute Cookie

So grateful these kids love hugs

Haven and my mom

It was the perfect visit and recharged my batteries in ways I didn't know I needed. I'm so grateful for eternal families!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm a Sucker For a Boy Band

Boy band + Disney + a dash of One Direction + cross dressing = a win for me!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our Hands

A few months ago I looked down at my hand and noticed for the first time that I have my mom's hands. I immediately texted here to tell her this and she replied that that was impossible because I have long graceful fingers while hers are stubby and gross. I told her we would compare the next time I came for a visit.

Last week I was in Utah to celebrate Independence Day and my niece's baptism so I grabbed my mom for a quick comparison. Her hand is on the right and I'm on the left. I think they're pretty similar - we even inadvertently both stuck our pinkies out and wear our CTR rings on the same fingers. Mine are chubbier and hers are more glamorous (hello, nail polish!). 

Basically, I'm thrilled to resemble my mom in any way. She's just the coolest and if the only trait I can say strongly resembles her is my hands, I'm happier for it!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


We left Scotland on the morning of my 31st birthday (and Kent's too! Except he's not exactly 31) and took a train to London.

Love the Tube, it feels much more intuitive to me than most subway systems I've ridden on.

The train arrived at King's Cross Station so OBVIOUSLY I had to do this - it was my birthday! And even if it wasn't my birthday there was no way I was going to miss this. Notice I'm wearing a Ravenclaw scarf? That's right - no Gryffindor here. They're great people and all, but I'm Ravenclaw through and through.

The London Eye

What up, Big Ben? He's truly magnificent. 

Probably the greatest tragedy of my life up to this point is that there is no photography inside Westminster Abbey. I have wanted to go there since 7th grade when I started my weird fascination with Queen Elizabeth I. 

It did not disappoint. This was another site that took my breath away and I had several moments of panic/tears. Upon entering I quickly found some volunteers and asked them about 27 questions.

1 - How does one come to be buried here? You have to have performed service to your country. Then someone nominates you and the Dean of Westminster makes the decision.
2 - How many people are buried there? Over 3500. Sometimes they still find bones where they did not expect to.
3 - There are some massive monuments/graves in here, are you concerned that it will start to sink? No, There is no crypt, just a super strong, double fortified foundation so it can take the weight.
4 - When someone is buried there now do you pry up the ancient floor tiles and deposit them in the ground? No. Now if you are buried at Westminster it may only be ashes. They do pry up a single floor tile and replace it with your placard.
5 - May I move to London and volunteer here every other Saturday? Yes. 

Harry Potter Film Studios. It happened. Whatever.

The Great Hall. It looks much greater on screen, but still pretty cool!

Bellatrix Lestrange's weave.

The entrance to Dumbledore's office.

Over 1700 hand made wand boxes!

I cried. That should be expected by now.

Camden. Used to be a huge horse stable, now it a kooky outdoor market.

Our heads are in nostrils. Do you see it?

Greenwich Mean Time line. Where East meets West.

Living dangerously and straddling the line.

St Paul's Cathedral

At Parliament

Part of the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Pretty cool stuff!

I desperately wanted to got to the Victoria and Albert Museum on the recommendation of my UK pen pal. It did NOT disappoint! It may be my most favorite museum in the world - and I volunteer at the Smithsonian! This is a statue of Lot's wife turning to look at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah after the Lord commanded her not to. It has a lot of personal meaning so coming upon it was just phenomenal.

Isn't this lovely?

I didn't feel the need to rush to see everything during our four days in London because I had a strong feeling that I will be back sooner than later. It was a very nice feeling, indeed. 

London is lovely and like Scotland, felt like home. I could easily see myself living in either country if I had the opportunity. So...who wants to plan a UK tour with me? Anyone?


I fell madly in love with Edinburgh! I have traveled to many places but I have never felt so immediately comfortable in a foreign place as I did in Scotland. Someone give me a reason to move, please!

The old town is right in the city center. Overwhelming. Stunning. Gorgeous. Happy.

One of Edinburgh's nicknames is Auld Reekie. Reekie refers to smoke in old Scots and Edinburgh is famous for having chimney upon chimney. 

Four small potatoes (this was a medium serving...) with guacamole, sweet corn, and sour cream. YUM. Potatoes are my perfect food so adding all sorts of extra deliciousness was basically a dream come true.

This crag is called Arthur's Seat and it is situated behind the old part of the city. It is supposed to be an easy and popular hike.

There is a place in this old part called the Grassmarket and we were told the story of Maggie Dickson. Here's what wikipedia has to say about her, "The Grassmarket was also a place of public executions. A popular story in Edinburgh is that of Maggie Dickson, a fishwife fromMusselburgh who was hanged in the Grassmarket in 1724 for murdering her own baby. After the hanging, her body was taken back to Musselburgh in a coffin. However, on the way there she awoke. Under Scots Law she had served her punishment. Only later were the words "until dead" added to the sentence of hanging. It was also to some extent seen as divine intervention, and so she was allowed to go free. [2] In later life (and legend) she was thereafter referred to as Half-Hangit Maggie. There is now a pub named after Maggie situated on the Grassmarket."

Have the Weasley twins been here?!?

Edinburgh is stag party central. Bachelor party after bachelor party wandered (or stumbled drunkenly) past us. Some of them dressed up in outlandish costumes. I highly suggest a Saturday afternoon in Edinburgh for the stag party watching. FABULOUS.

Erin got photo bombed like you wouldn't believe

Many buildings around Edinburgh have a plaque that describes something pertinent to history that happened there. I appreciate the sense of humor behind this.

University of Edinburgh

We stayed with an awesome family in the suburbs, just about 5 minutes from the beach. Beautiful but cold!

This was just down the street from J.K. Rowling's house!!!!!

We spent Sunday evening walking along the beach with Kent and Bonno, and some friends from their ward.  Now, time for a photo shoot.

Everyone, say hello to Kent. "Hi Kent!"

Guys, this is Bonno. "Hi Bonno!"

Just saying that I adore these guys doesn't do my feelings justice. We had SO much fun!

I want to go back. Like, yesterday.