Friday, February 28, 2014

Sour Lemons

Why Mormon Dating Is So Screwed Up
I am about to give an honest account of how I feel about Mormon dating. I recently read the article "Why College Dating is so Screwed Up" and I absolutely loved it. So I thought I would say a few words of my own. I go to school at BYU-Idaho and let’s just say that my experience with dating has been little less than pleasant. So here I am, trying to put all my thoughts into coherent sentences. These thoughts have been bubbling to the surface for years… but as we learned in science (I really didn’t learn much in my sciences classes… alas, I learned one thing), if there is too much pressure and no release, there will be explosions. Well, my friends, let’s just say my cap has been blown to hell and here are the words I’ve been wanting to say for a very long time.
Mormon dating SUCKS. And before you roll your eyes and think “oh here we go again with some angsty young single adult giving us a sob story about being single,” you should know that this is not just some on-the-spot decision, but I have real evidence to back up my thesis. Think of this as my real senior project. As my years at BYU-Idaho come to a close, I am ready to present my thesis. Here are my reasons:
One reason why Mormon dating sucks is pressure. We as young single adults are under ENORMOUS pressure to get married—and get married quickly. For as long as I can remember, the Brethren have been giving us the instructions to not wait to get married and to make finding an eternal companion one of our top priorities. Ok, before you stop reading, I want to just say that I believe in our Prophet and everything the Brethren teach. However, I do think we take what they say with so much intensity, and we tend to skew what the Brethren say to fit where we are and what we are doing. Rexburg has taken this call to action with so much enthusiasm that we have been dubbed “BYU-I-DO,” and “Ring-Before-Spring.” People are getting married left and right. I should know, I process the marriage/name change forms in the Records Office. And let me just say, there is definitely something in the water. I think it’s arsenic.
What I am trying to say, there has been so much pressure placed upon us to find someone, that we try to rush the process. It’s a fact—kids are getting married WAY TOO FAST. Young couples just don’t take the time to get to know each other, and this leads to divorce later on. Speaking with a counselor at the school, I learn that there are more marital problems than we would expect here. The counselor (who will remain unnamed) has said she has heard this before: “He is just not the person I married.” Well, I guess you didn’t know who you married.
One day at work, I processed a marriage into our system. This girl was 21 and getting married (totally fine—she was my age) and then I realized that she just came out of a divorce. Wait a second—you have been married, got divorced, and are getting married AGAIN? Before the age of 22? Am I the only one who finds a problem here?
With all this said, I understand how important it is to find someone that we are going to live FOREVER with. That itself is a lot of pressure. And then, when you see all your friends get married and start having babies by the time they are in their 20’s, you start to get flustered. Am I doing this wrong? Why haven’t I found someone?
I feel like these guys can feel my eggs dying. I’m 22 and I’m considered an old maid here. This leads me to my next piece of evidence….
Guys, we live in a bubble. Here at BYU-Idaho, and I’m sure BYU has a similar problem, we live in a highly concentrated bubble of Mormanism. I’m pretty sure we are the most concentrated areas for Mormons in the world. So, with so many Mormons trying to find their ET (Eternal Companion), you forget that this is actually insanity. If you were in the real world (anywhere but here) and you were married by 20, you would be looked down upon. Now, before anger arises in my readers, I would like to say that I think it’s wonderful if you are that young and are happily married. If this is the case, you probably did it right and that’s just how your story was supposed to pan out. However, I want to help everyone empathize with the people who have not met the criteria of being married young. Here, we are seen as defected if we aren’t engaged by 21 or seriously dating. Guess what, we are YOUNG. I’m 22 and unmarried? That is normal. Completely normal. But here it’s not. I feel like if I tell people I am leaving BYU-I without a husband, they want to ask if I was an online student. Did you attend class? Were you actually on campus? Why aren’t you married? And  (my personal favorite) “Well, boys are just dumb!” Guys, I’m not sick… I’m just single. And this is Rexburg, not the world. Step out of this bubble and realize that you have so much time. Don’t rush because you feel like you have to be married by 20. Breathe. We’ll be fine.
THE CHECKLIST (or the RM method)
This one is a personal favorite. I like to call this the RM method. So, guys get off their mission and think “well, it’s time to get married now.” So we have these boys who are 3 months off their mission entering this dating world where they are determined to find a wife by the end of their first semester back. Woah tiger, let’s slow down.
In my dating experiences, the recently returned missionaries are the ABSOLUTE WORST. All I have ever been was an item on their checklist (I would have said “to-do list” but I think that would give you the wrong idea). On the top of their list, they title it “ETERNAL COMPANION” and they are bent on dating as many girls as they can until they check them all off the list and find their true soul mate. This is all well and good for you boys, but guess what… you are going on a million first dates. How can you possibly get to know girls if you are treating them like something you just need to check off of a list? Oh, well I just got the eggs, the milk, and the flour. I’m one step closer to making a cake! Well, thanks to you, all I am is some dairy product in your recipe for the perfect woman. What happened to the days where dating meant getting to know someone? Now, if there are no fireworks behind your date’s halo, you move on to the next girl. Just for once in my life, I would like to be the goal, not the step you need to take to meet it.
This is a real problem. Many people are using faith as a crutch. After a week, I had a guy going to the temple to pray and see if he should date me. Well guess what answer he got? He didn’t get an answer… so he broke up with me. Ummm did I miss something? “I’ve prayed and I didn’t get a solid answer about you.” Oh, well, that wouldn’t be because God wants you to make your own decisions, would it? Of course God isn’t going to tell you after a week that you shouldn’t date me. You hardly know me! Stop praying for answers and use your agency. If you want to date me, date me. If you don’t, then don’t. Stop hiding behind your faith and make decisions for yourself. There are no red flags going up. You are just afraid of commitment. Speaking of being afraid of commitment, many people use their faith as a crutch to hide their fear. They don’t want to settle if there is someone prettier, holier, and more humble around the corner. So, for entertainment sake’s, here are some great lines I’ve been given on my dates.
“I’ve been praying, and God hasn’t told me if I should date you or not.” So obviously, let’s break up.
“I’ve been praying, and I just don’t feel right about pursuing you anymore.” Oh did God tell you that?
“I am still interested in you… but I don’t like you… it has never grown out of the interest stage” Umm… what?
“I’m just not ready to commit.” Well, at least you’re honest.
“Well, I just think we should be friends.”
“I just can’t see us going anywhere.”
“You’re going to find someone really special someday.”
“You’re prince will find you soon.” Umm… seriously?
“You’re just too good for me.”
“You deserve better.” Well duh.
“There is something really special about you… I don’t want to mess this up by going too fast…” 2 days later… “It’s over.”

Oh and did I mention one guy put me in the hospital? Yeah. This dude literally tore my ACL and meniscus and hasn’t talked to me since.
Well, I hope there is hope. Though I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel now, I do have enough faith to hope that there is some guy out there that isn’t a complete tool. But seriously, Mormon dating sucks. At least it does here at BYU. I know there are girls and guys out there that probably feel exactly like I do. For you, I just want to tell you that you are not alone. I believe we will receive clarity one day. One day we will be able to look back and thank the heavens for these knuckleheads that broke our hearts. I believe it gives us tough skin. And for those who have escaped the hell-hole relatively unscathed, hold your loved ones tight. Not many make it out alive.
For you fabulous single people, let’s do fun things. Let’s go dancing… let those boys look but not touch. Let’s listen to Ke$ha and imagine getting revenge on our offenders. Let’s stop playing the victim and own our independence. Let’s sing along to Taylor Swift cause she is the only one who truly knows how we feel (heh). Let’s go get Taco Bell at midnight and drink energy drinks until we are completely sick. Let’s write angry letters to ex-boyfriends. Let’s travel because we have the money and the time. Let’s get degrees and let’s get careers. Let’s work out. Let’s put our make up on and make those boys want us. Let’s buck up and stop crying. Let’s make goals and let’s make them happen.
Let’s just live.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


We all know that true communication is becoming a lost art. With all the new technology being created to eliminate the need for face-to-face communication, we are losing the ability to do the latter well. However, we are still wonderfully gifted at communicating about ourselves. How many of us find ourselfs in an extremely one-sided conversation? Either the person we are conversing with has failed to do anything but talk about their problems, as if it they have some urgent need to tell us about their neighbor's insistence to keep up their extremely offensive Romney sign in their front lawn. Or, they just have to tell us about their daughter's new boyfriend. I believe we all go through this, maybe even on a daily basis. However, have you considered that you may be part of the problem too? I know I am guilty of these selfish conversations. I sometimes have a conversation with someone that is leaning completely in my direction, and when the person I'm talking to has their two-cents to put in, I find myself only vaguely interested in what they have to say. Why is this? Let me be bold and suggest we are all extremely selfish. We all need the satisfaction of talking. We all need to get our issues out in the open. It literally relieves stress for us. However, when we recieve that satisfaction, we are unwilling to give someone else that privelage.
Excuse me as I also blame this on facebook and every other technology out there. Technology has completely slowed our attention span. We have to adapt to the fast pace of the media if we are going to thrive in this world, and with this, we all lose our ability to be patient. We need answers quickly. Our natural ability to sit down with someone and have a sincere conversation has died. It is now a struggle to keep our mind focused on one thing for so long. So as we are having that conversation, we find our mind easily wandering to everywhere except where it should be: in the conversation.

Now, if you will, allow me to connect this with prayer. Spirituality is a huge part of my life, and speaking my mind about the lost art of communication brings me to the most important communication of all: the conversations we should be having with our Heavenly Father. Unfortunately, these conversations require a much deeper amount of dedication than those with others around us. In this case, we get no physical presence to ground us. We have no societal pressures to keep us talking and saying the right things. We have no anchor keeping us on our knees. We must be 100% dedicated to the conversation in order for it to be a success.
I often find myself repeating the same things in my prayers. It becomes a broken record I press play right before going to bed. It is insincere and impersonal. Let me make this analogy. How often do we call businesses and get a recorded message? Do we like these? Or even worse... how often do we get telemarketers that leave recorded messages as soon as we pick up our phone? I find few things more frustrating than this. What keeps us listening? Nothing. We are all lucky that God is such a patient loving father because He will always listen. However, you can imagine his disappointment when He recieves "calls" that are merely recorded messages.
The first step to ridding ourself of this problem is to give each prayer the attention it deserves. I try to set myself a visual so that I stay focused on what I am saying. I try not to forget that I am indeed talking to someone who is listening.
The next piece of advice I would suggest is simple: talk to God like you're talking to a friend. This is for one simple reason... God is our friend. "Even to those who don't believe and want to leave him behind."
This next section is I think the most important thing I have talked about. Like with all conversations, we must listen. Prayer is no different than any other conversation in this aspect. Like all conversations, we must be as willing to listen as we are to talk. We must remember not to hang up the phone right after we speak. How are we going to hear what He has to tell us? We aren't going to hear audible words. All of us hear the Lord differently. Sometimes it's merely a good feeling. Sometimes we recieve promptings and answers through our own thoughts. These come only when we are willing to listen. The Lord has things to tell us, even if they're simple things like "It's going to be OK," or "Trust me," or "I love you."

As the values of good communication becomes increasingly more difficult to uphold, we have to make a pledge to not give up on it. Let's learn to listen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

finding peace in pain

It's been a while since I've posted... and a lot has happened! I felt like I should share my most recent experience. Though many of you are probably familiar with my situation, I will give a detailed account of my experience so that those who care can read about it and those who don't, can choose to ignore my little tidbits on facebook. This experience has taught me many things... but the one I cannot escape is the realization that I can find peace in the midst of pain.

On Sunday, October 7th, I was invited over to my friend Derek's apartment to watch conference. So we watch conference, then afterwards we head over to my apartment to make dinner. At that point we are joined by many other friends and we're just kind of fooling around after we eat. I play a little guitar, we talk, contemplate watching a movie, but we decided on something a little more pro-active. I don't remember how the topic came up, but I tell Derek I've taken taekwondo, and seeing his interest, and wanting to impress a cute boy, I decide to show him some of my self-defense. It honestly wasn't very impressive, but that's my life. After humoring me, Derek decides to try some moves on me. He tells me he is going to put me on the ground. I'm used to this... having learned how to properly "fall" in taekwondo, but just to be sure, I tell him to be gentle. He tells me he will. This is when things get kind of fuzzy... He takes me down. But something went wrong. To this day we still are unsure how exactly it happened, but somehow my leg got caught behind his and it twisted in a way it shouldn't have. We all hear a couple loud POPS. crap. Now I am on the floor panting and holding my left knee. Val, being the kick-A nursing student she is, is at my aid immediately. I am laying on my back and she asks me some questions and I try to answer, but I am in so much pain I don't remember doing anything. Derek is looking at my leg and exclaims that it's out of place. He says he needs to pop it back in. Now, let me explain something about myself. I have a very low pain tolerance and a bad habit of watching dramatic hospital shows, so I know that I am about to experience serious pain. I tell them not to touch it many times... and then I black out.

I wake up really confused, but extremely calm. If you know me, you know I have a history of passing out. I'm a pro. That said, I calmly ask someone for a sugary drink. Val tells me that she is going to take me to the hospital. At this point, I am in so much pain, I know I can't walk. Derek picks me up and has to carry me down the two flights of stairs to the car. I guess I have to mention something before I get to the car. A couple days before the accident, Derek asked me out on a date... but we hadn't picked a day or anything. So when he was carrying me down to the car, I ask "Hey, so does this count as our first date?" Well everyone else thought that was pretty funny. I tend to crack jokes when I'm in pain or I'm nervous. Well, he answered with a resounding "NO." Apparently that wasn't romantic enough for him. Sheesh, whatever.

The ER was the most painful experience of my life. When they ask me my pain level, it was far beyond a 10. The worst part was when they tried to straighten my leg for an X-Ray. That was excruciating. And they kept wanting to bend it... which was not what my knee wanted to do. Since they didn't know what the injury was, they couldn't make a decision about treatment. It was decided that I would stay overnight and get an MRI the next morning. For hours, or maybe it wasn't that long... time wasn't my first concern, I was being prodded, injected with drugs, moved, and asked meaningless questions. All I wanted was to see Val and Derek. I wanted a familiar face. So they finally let me see them. So Derek walks in followed by Val's brother. They tell me they're going to give me a blessing. It was one of the most beautiful blessing I remember receiving. In the blessing, I was promised that Christ would carry me through this trial. I knew I was going to be OK.

The next few days were painful but I had never felt so blessed. That first night in the hospital was a blur, but it was oddly awesome. It was me, my cousin Andie, Derek, and Val. Val went back to the apartment to grab me some things I needed. Now, if I wasn't sure before that Val and I were meant to be friends forever, this next act removed all doubts. She comes back to the hospital with Ritz crackers and.... NUTELLA. She also brought Avatar season 1. Needless to say, my night was instantly better. So my friends stay until 2am just so I didn't have to be alone. I have never needed my friends more than I did that night. I will be forever grateful for their company that night.

The next morning I got an MRI. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was. The bad part is when the doctor came in later to tell me the verdict. He tells me I tore my ACL and my Meniscus, and that surgery was necessary and there would be a minimum recovery period of 6 weeks. That's when I lost it. I remember Val crawling onto my bed and just holding me while I cried. I couldn't stop thinking about what this would mean for school, for church, for everything! I couldn't walk for at least 6 weeks? There had to be some mistake. Stuff like this doesn't happen to me. I thought my trials would be different. I wasn't expecting this.

My dad came the day before surgery and was there through the whole process of surgery and the rest of my hospital stay. That was such a blessing. My surgery was performed wednesday the 10th, and I returned home thursday morning. I was fixed... but the healing was just beginning.

Well, that is the story. Since then, I have been going to Physical Therapy 3 times a week and my knee is healing wonderfully. It really has been a journey though. There were many nights during the first weeks after surgery where I found myself depressed and so overwhelmed. To top everything off, I had run out of my depression medication, and I was suffering. I was not myself. I was angry with God, angry with everything. That is not me. I knew the worst part of me had taken over and I couldn't stop it. I would cry myself to sleep every night until my medicine came in the mail and I slowly returned to myself.

Now, I don't tell people this story to entice people into pity (though my ex kindly told me otherwise). I tell this story because it was a trial that tested my faith. For me, this was the biggest trial I have ever had to deal with because I am not used to dealing with such strong physical pain. It shook me, that's for sure. From the support of my family and friends, from the countless priesthood blessings, and from the quiet moments of contemplation and prayer, I was able to find peace in the midst of pain. Since the Lord cannot be here to hold our hands during trials, he sends us angels to be there to do it for Him. I have been surrounded by angels willing to hold my hand. At night I will pray long and hard, talking with my Heavenly Father. I will tell Him everything and ask for His continued guidance in my life. I thank Him for the many small miracles I've experienced. Every day is a miracle for me. I feel myself growing stronger every moment and I have made some great new friendships and solidified the most important ones. I even feel my parents and I's relationship strengthening as I call them every day just to talk about everything.

To finish my rather long blog post, I want to share a little quote from one of my favorite books.
"Some people will have good times and some will not , but the only losers are those who give up and quit before they reach their goal. In the gospel race, their are no losers, only quitters. Those who run across the finish line in minutes, those who walk across it in hours, or those who crawl across it in days all win the prize. For they all endured to the end, according to their talents and abilities, looking to the Savior. Paul uses this analogy, writing 'Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith' (Heb. 12:1-2). Too many of us expend our energy worrying about our relative times instead of keeping our eyes on the goal, putting one foot in front of the other, and enduring to the end."
-Stephen E. Robinson from his book Believing Christ

I hope to never be a quitter. I will endure. And I hope you will too.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lemon Jell-o.... What you need to know about Mormanism


So I felt like it was time to personally defend my religion. Though many who read this are probably Mormon themselves, I hope this reaches out to someone who will feel a little more enlightened about what my church is really about. 
For starters, the official name of my church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

History: Our church first began, of course, when Christ was on the earth. However, because of the evil of the world, the church was gone from the earth for a very long time. We call this time in our world's history the apostasy. In 1820, a young man named Joseph Smith, was conflicted as to which church he should join. In the western part of New York in the early 1800's there was a lot of religious fervor and oftentimes conflicts arose because each church would try hard to gain support. So Joseph Smith, then 14 years old, decided to pray to God for help in deciding which church to join. He read in the book of James, chapter 1, verse 5: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" 
After reading this, he prayed and God and Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him that he must not join any of the churches, for he must restore Jesus Christ's church to the earth. And that is exactly what he did. We believe Joseph Smith was a righteous prophet who translated the Book of Mormon (I'll talk about this later) and restored Christ's church in these modern times. 

Books: We follow the Old Testament, the New Testament and The Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a book of ancient teachings that were buried by Mormon during the Apostasy. God gave Joseph Smith the knowledge and authority to find these records and translate them into English.
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and contains valuable teachings and commandments of God. 

The Godhead: We believe in ONE GOD. We believe He sent His chosen son, Jesus Christ. to earth to teach and to save all mankind. We also believe in the Holy Ghost, which is what we feel when we are being prompted to doing something good, or if we are being warned. These three beings are separate beings and they make up what we call the Godhead: Heavenly Father (God), Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost.

WE ARE CHRISTIANS: Many believe Mormons are not Christians because we view God and Christ as separate beings... but this is not true. We worship Christ as the Savior of mankind and that He died so that we could be saved if only we repent of our sins. We call this The Atonement. Christ was sent to earth by God to save us from sin. He suffered by taking every sin known to man upon himself and then was betrayed and killed. He then rose from the grave 3 days later, conquering death, and setting a precedent by which we could now follow. We are able to be resurrected from the dead and since he took upon himself the pain of our sins, we are able to be forgiven and can return to God in heaven. Christ was a sinless, wonderful Savior who taught to love God and to love our neighbors. 

Missionaries: when a young man turns 19, he becomes eligible to serve a mission. If he is ready and worthy, he sacrifices his time, family, everything, to serve the Lord and teach our gospel to those who will listen. He spends two years away from home (he gets called by our Prophet to serve) in one area anywhere in the world. They work in companionships, so that's why there's always two of them... girls also can serve missions, but not until their 21 (i think its for safety reasons), and only for 1.5 years. For boys, it is a commandment to serve a mission, for girls it is optional, but always encouraged. 
Now, these boys are normal and wonderful people. Before you bash on them, try to remember that they gave up two years they could be attending school, being with family, etc. to teach people about our Gospel. This seems like a huge bill, and it really is, but it becomes an easy decision to make because of their wonderful testimonies and desire to share God's word with those who may be searching for it. Try and remember these boys' families, who wait anxiously for a letter each week from their son to be assured that they are safe and happy. These boys don't wish to harm anyone or denounce anyone else's beliefs, they are just faithful men who wish to teach our Gospel to help build our church. We love our gospel so much that we want others to find the same happiness.

Prophets: We believe God chooses a faithful servant on the earth to lead our church. It began with Peter in the time Christ was on the earth. We believe there is a prophet on the earth now. His name is Thomas S. Monson. He has been sustained by every member, and has been called of God to teach and lead us along with his counselors and other church leaders. There is a first and second  counselor that help the prophet, and then there are 12 apostles. Twice every year, we get to hear from these men and other church leaders and be enlightened and instructed by them. This called our conference. It's held live in Salt Lake City Utah. We believe these men carry the responsibility of teaching us modern doctrine. 

Modern teachings and misconceptions: There are many things our church and other churches did anciently that are not done now. For example, WE DO NOT PRACTICE POLYGAMY. That was a commandment given to our church when it was first restored in order to build our church. Since then, it has been disbanded because it is not consistent with modern times. This is also seen through the doctrine of sacrifice. In ancient times, many people (not just christians) would sacrifice animals for God. This is not needed anymore, because God adapts his commandments to the time it is to be followed. God is constant, and his commands never change, but there are adaptations made so that they fit the modern world. Animal sacrifice was to teach people in ancient times the principle of sacrifice. Now, we are sometimes asked to sacrifice our time, money, love, etc. for His sake. This shows how some commandments are adapted to fit modern life. 

The Don'ts: As many of you have probably noticed, we don't drink alcohol, coffee, or tea. We don't smoke, swear, and we don't have sex before marriage. There's a lot of joking in the media about a lot of these, but I promise these little "don'ts" have really blessed my life. And if you know any mormon that has done any of these things (I know many myself...), they are not following the teachings of our church. Please don't judge our religion based on those who don't practice what they preach. Our religion has been distorted that way. 

Regarding sexuality: I am not going to say much about this because it is such a controversial topic, but I will say a couple things regarding the matter. We believe God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman. I follow this belief. However, we are also taught it is not our place to judge others and we are taught to love EVERYONE. I am personally very disappointed with church members who disregard these commandments. 

My experience: This gospel brings me true happiness. I will never be able to deny that. I believe in everything taught in this wonderful gospel. Sometimes being a Mormon is not easy. I was often mocked because of my beliefs and things I chose not to do. I lost a lot of friends because I chose not to party. But I don't regret any of it. I know I am free because of the choices I have made. I am strong and spiritually connected. I know I am a child of God, and I have learned to love everyone because they are all my brothers and sisters. My life is full of light because of the righteous decisions i've made. 

Please, if you want to know more, ask me! I will share anything I can, the best way I can. I want everyone I am associated with to know what I believe and to also know how happy I am because of it. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Recipe for Perfect Pink Lemonade

Today I felt impressed to talk about personal confidence. Man, have I struggled with this for the longest time. However, I want to share a few things about what I have found to be the "SECRET TO HAPPINESS." Now for the disclaimer... I am not perfectly confident and happy all the time. I struggle a lot. But the great thing about life, is that you don't have to be perfect or happy all of the time. This is normal. I would be surprised if someone told me they are always happy. Let's be real. No, you're not. Life is full of disappointment and fear. However, God, in all His wisdom and grace, gave us one thing we can never forget: A SMILE. It's there for a reason. So that said, here is my secret to happiness:

Since I began eating right and exercising every day, I have been immeasurably happier. I have more energy, more motivation, and so much more appreciation for my physical body.

 my pesto pasta. Ingredients: Rigatoni noodles, pesto sauce, pepperoni minis, chopped tomatoes, and topped with parmesan cheese. 

I often struggle with having the right perspective on things. I tend to overreact to things that just aren't a big deal. My therapist taught me a technique to help me put things into perspective... before reacting to a situation or problem, rate the problem. 1 being not a big deal at all, and 10 being an absolute emergency. After doing that, match your reaction and perspective to the level on the scale. I find that not sweating the small things makes me a lot less stressed and is a great thing to learn in order to be happy.

My favorite flower:) the lily. 

If you do all the work you need to, let yourself be happy and do something FUN! Life is so busy... let yourself relax and just get lost in those things that you love. For me, that means singing at the top of my lungs, shopping for cute clothes, playing games, and just goofing off with my roommates.

 I love design and fashion. This is just what I do!

I would be nothing without my strong spiritual foundation. Whether or not you have religion in your life, you must understand that you have a spirit that needs nourishment just as much as your body does. Believe in things, hope for things, and try and get somewhere with your life. Find something to build a strong foundation, and I promise your life will make more sense. Find belief. Find a religion. Find faith. If you do this, you WILL find happiness.

This is the Rexburg, Idaho temple. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I believe it. I live it. 

Last but not least, find love. For goodness sake, LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL. In whatever form it takes, whether its the love between a mother and a daughter, or it's that I'm-crazy-and-your-crazy-so-let's-be-in-love kind of love! Find something/someone to love. In my opinion, the happiest person who ever lived on earth was Jesus Christ... and one of the reasons He was is because He LOVED everyone. It's something worth considering.

Love you all. Peace Out.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Small and Simple Lemons

So after a rough day, I decided to try and cheer myself up. I want to make a list of all the small and simple things I LOVE that make my life so wonderful. Oftentimes we get caught up in the shuffle of the day and forget to contemplate the things to be grateful for. These are my small and simple lemons that I am grateful for today:

My headband
My legs (those things that allow me to get places)
The park
Crystal Lite
My mother
The picture of Jesus on my fridge
My lilies
My soft blanket
Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips
Joss Stone
My nail polish
Kitchen Appliances
Diet Dr. Pepper
Fresh air
My voice
My pink water bottle
Baby carrots

Um... so there are many more.... but I don't want to bore you..... now here is a face from me to you:

Friday, May 11, 2012


Pounds, weight, fat.... These are probably three of the scariest words in the English language. With America getting fatter and fatter, we are constantly bombarded with pressure to lose weight. Well, I can tell you, I have fallen for it. I decided it was finally time to do something that had I had wanted to do for so long. I have just come out of a very stressful time in my life, and I needed to make drastic changes with how I feel about myself. For so long, I have wallowed in my own pity, wondering why I did not have the body I wanted. Before I go any further though, I would like to admit that I was never really fat. I was "chunky" and it got to the point that I would hate going out because I felt so uncomfortable with myself. This was part of the reason I starting seeing a counselor. I had the worst self-esteem. I have tried many times to just be happy and ignore my body, but there came a point about a month ago where I decided to change. I have learned that we are all in charge of our own happiness. It took me a while to grasp that concept, but I think I finally have. I have decided to share my little adventure with you.

I made a plan. I printed out a chart to track my weight loss, and I made a list of restricted foods.
So.... here is my secrets. 

That's right. It was so hard for me because I loved chocolate. I ate some everyday, and if someone made sweets, I lacked the self-control and vision I needed to say "no." So I decided to quit cold turkey and cut out sweets completely. 

America, did you hear me? STOP WITH THE FRENCH FRIES. I am a sucker for french fries, fried chicken, and all that good deep fried goodness. I cut out chips, fries, breaded chicken, etc. Who needs this extra fat? A pound of fat is not worth 10 minutes of enjoying a deep fried snack. Whenever I get a craving for something like this, I try and choose a baked snack. One thing that has helped me has been to just stay completely away from places that deep fry their food. I just get rid of the temptation. 

Now, I love white bread. And I still eat it sometimes. But I have tried to replace white bread with whole grains. You get so much more for your buck this way. The problem with most white bread is hidden within the ingredients list. ALWAYS check the ingredients. If it says "bleached" or "enriched" flour, even if it says its wheat flour, it is pretty much telling you they sapped all the nutrients out of the bread to make it nice and fluffy and delicious. You want to aim for a bread that is pure wheat flour and plenty of whole grains. Here's a little nutrition for you. Wheat bread usually uses the entire wheat grain. White bread only uses the small inside portion of the grain, which is called the endosperm. The real nutritional value is in the whole grain! Don't sell yourself short. 
Also, I decided to substitute white rice for brown rice. It is much healthier for you. Remember that starch is fine, but by eating too much of it, it turns to fat. (corn, rice, potatoes, etc). 

I don't need to explain myself here. Just don't. 

5 days a week. It took me a while to work up to this. I started with a couple days a week, and now I am working out for an hour a day, 5 days a week. Make sure that you try and do both strength and endurance. I do at least 30 minutes of cardio. I also like to switch up my routine once in a while. I will sometimes go do my rounds at the gym, sometimes I will go to a yoga class or go on a long walk on days where I was tired. Either way, I got my heart rate up and I am reaping the benefits. 

Now here's the fun part. The before and after. Let it be known that I have not reached my goal weight. I still have a ways to go and my plan is a little slower than a lot of fad diets, but I'm not just changing my weight, I am completely changing my lifestyle. I am not only getting skinnier....I'M GETTIN' HEALTHIER!

Before: 156 pounds

AFTER......... 142 POUNDS!

:D Life is good.