January 29, 2016

the highs are high, and the lows are low

Christmas in Hawaii was a dream, and finalizing our plans for medical school felt like a miracle. Seriously, a miracle. After all these years of uncertainty, anxiousness, prayers galore... MIRACLE. And then bam. This week happened. Max and I were both in separate car accidents in the last 4 days (positive note: not our faults at least), I have mono (again), and it's like wait a second, What on earth is happening here? We were on a roller coaster going up! Only up! WHAT IS HAPPENING.

(All caps and metaphors are entirely for dramatic purposes... but really, this week has been rough).

However, if I've learned anything over the last month (or this last week especially), I've been reminded of something I had read years ago when I was a teenager. John Bytheway once wrote about an experience he had had in high school. It was a rough day/week/month/whatever and when he talked to his Dad about it, his Dad had comforted him by saying, "John, this too shall pass." And it did. As all bad days and weeks and months always do. Not long after, however, as John was flying high and life was going just his way, he let his dad know that the bad days were gone for good - and that is when his Dad had to remind him yet again, "John, this too shall pass."

And as Frank Sinatra once sang, that's life.

So let me share once more what I've shared several times before, (so many times actually, that I now have it memorized as this seems to be one of the greatest tid bits of wisdom for my life):

"Life is like that—ups and downs, a bump on the head, and a crack on the shins. It was ever thus. Hamlet went about crying, “To be or not to be,” but that didn’t solve any of his problems. There is something of a tendency among us to think that everything must be lovely and rosy and beautiful without realizing that even adversity has some sweet uses. One of my favorite newspaper columnists is Jenkin Lloyd Jones. In a recent article published in the News, he commented:. . .

Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

January 21, 2016

it's official.

I remember a sleepover I had with some girlfriends the summer I turned seventeen. Every single one of them were on their phones with “significant others” and I sat bored waiting impatiently for one of them to get off. They didn’t. So I decided to call one of my friends from an English class I had taken earlier that year; it was Max. We talked long after my friends got off their phones and went to bed, and I remember sneaking into the closet so we could keep talking until three or four in the morning. It was the first time I can remember him telling me that he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. (I am pretty sure I told him that I just wanted to live on the beach in Hawaii one day. I know. Impressive life goals). Ten years later, and as of last night, it’s all official: Max will be entering the class of 2016 at the University of Utah School of Medicine this fall.


I wish there were enough words, or any words for that matter, to describe how proud I am but there aren’t. Just know that if we were to sit down somewhere and talk about it I would try not to cry. I've cried plenty of times, both happy and sad tears over the last few years as he's worked hard and sacrificed for this. It wasn't anywhere near easy, but that's what makes all of this more rewarding than if it had been.

So congratulations to my best friend in the entire world, and to that seventeen year old boy who had wanted and talked about this so long ago. You did it!

January 9, 2016

home away from home



It's been nine years (I repeat, nine years!!) since I first went out to school in Laie, Hawaii, but the second we stepped off the plane I told Max that it almost felt like I had never left. The North shore still feels like a home away from home in a million ways.




(sooo worth the $15 entrance fee to hike through waimea valley. unbelievably gorgeous!)


(Byodo-In Temple. I'm almost convinced that I need to go to Japan now. Max also dedicated most of his time here to finding people he could speak Japanese with)





(the chocolate haupia cream pie should be the only pie ever made anywhere ever)





(my old stomping grounds. we got to attend church while we were out there, and i told the lady sitting
 on the row behind us that I think the church is truest in Hawaii)


We did the usual touristy things of course, like visiting Pearl Harbor (which was especially moving for me this time) and the Dole Plantation (twice); but the highlights of course were spending 95% of our trip on the beach. Nowhere in the world are there beaches like the beaches on the North Shore of Oahu. Pipeline, Waimea, Sunset, Hukilau. Nothing else compares. And the food. Oh my heavens. I would no question be tan, fat and happy if I lived out there full-time. Ted's Bakery, Seven Brothers Burgers, The Garden Oven... I will happily admit I gained the freshman fifteen within five days.

Before we left, I made Max sign a contract (not kidding about this. I really did.) promising that this trip was entirely going to be about being with each other. No talks about medical school. No talks about debt. No church emails, work emails or bla bla bla. And it was by far the best 10 days of my life.

One night, after we were tired and sunburned from spending all of our time snorkeling and swimming, we laid in bed and talked about stuff. Random stuff. Non-important stuff. Non-life-changing stuff. And bam. Another snapshot for the memory books. And it didn't take place watching the beautiful Hawaiian sunsets, and honestly, something like that didn't need to happen on a Hawaiian vacation. It could happen anywhere. And that little snapshot proved to me (again) that it doesn't matter where we are, or where life does or doesn't take us, as long as I have Max I'll be okay.

PS. We went swimming with sharks out in Haliewa, which really deserves a post of it's own, but in case I never get around to it I just want that HUGE fact out there: Kelsie Bingham went swimming with sharks.

January 6, 2016

january 2016

It's no secret that January is rough - especially for me. It's more rough when you have to leave 85 degree weather for the arctic tundra also called Utah and reality has to kick in again.

So the other night as we got into bed relatively early, something came over us. I don’t know why, but at 10:30 that night we got back out of bed, made a backwards breakfast (even though we had had dinner a few hours before) and put on a scary movie. It like it was 2010 again and I didn’t calculate how many hours of sleep I wasn't going to get. Or think about how many diet cokes I would need to sustain me through tomorrow's 8 hour workday. And although in reality I can only afford nights like that maaaaayyybbbe every now and then, it was good to not be grown up for four hours. I needed it. And January needed it too.

December 28, 2015

a christmas carol

We spent most of the month of December in our living room by the Christmas tree. Even when Max was busy with finals week, he'd study next to me on the couch while I'd read A Christmas Carol. I've mentioned it before, but I try to read A Christmas Carol (or The Chimes, or Cricket on the Hearth) every Christmas season. This year, as I was finishing Dickens' book, the words of a newly transformed and repentant Scrooge especially touched me:

“I don’t know what to do. I am as light as a feather. As happy as an angel. I am as merry as a school boy. A merry Christmas to everyone, and a Happy New Year to the world!”

It's easy to forget the meaning of Christmas with all the work parties, ward parties, the plays, the ballet and Christmas shopping combined - but I was reminded as I read that short passage of why we celebrate Christmas to begin with. Not only on our Savior's birth, but on His life, and the Life that he gave for us. I know I'm a month late, but I hope everyone had a Merry, Merry Christmas!

November 24, 2015

a quick confession session

1. I not-so-secretly love Justin Beiber again (let us all forgive and forget I say!) I've told Max three times this past week I wish he and Selena Gomez would get married.

2. Hillary Clinton is now refusing to use the term "illegal immigrants" (instead referring to them as "undocumented immigrants") BECAUSE HASHTAG WORDS MATTER. This literally makes me want to rip my hair out. Or hers.

3. We decked our halls and put the Christmas lights out a week before Thanksgiving, and I just started reading A Christmas Carol last night. Max ordered me a vintage 1957 edition and I cried when it arrived in the mail, which both is and isn't saying a whole lot because I weep at everything this time of year.

4. I'm on my third diet coke today. I work with a General Authority who says after two/day I'm pushing the Word of Wisdom.

5. I really only wanted to write this list because of #1 and #2.

 THE END.

*Side note: This video warms my heart.



"This Christmas,
Let how you celebrate
reflect what you celebrate." Happy Holidays!

November 17, 2015

Paris

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
-Martin Luther King, Jr. 



This was one of the most moving letters I've ever read.

-via ABC News: A Paris man's powerful open letter of defiance to the terrorists who recently killed his wife during one of the attached on the Bataclan concert hall is going viral on Facebook.

Antoine Leiris posted the letter titled "You Will Not Have My Hatred" to Facebook on Monday, less than three days after his 35-year-old wife of 12 yaers, Helen Muyal-Leiris, was killed. Muyal-Leiris was one of the 129 individuals killed during the series of attacks in Paris last Friday night.

Leiris' post had over 123,500 shares, over 200 likes and over 100 comments of support as of this afternoon.
Friday night, you took an exceptional life -- the love of my life, the mother of my son -- but you will not have my hatred I don't know who you are and I don't want to know, you are dead souls. If this God, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in His heart.

So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You're asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. Of course I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in this paradise of free love to which you have no access.
We are just two, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don't have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.

October 31, 2015

october, the second best month of the year

December, October and June are my most favorite months of the year. Google it and you'll see that a majority of Americans agree with me. My to-do lists during these months are usually extensive, and last month was no exception. I am trying to soak up every ounce of fall that I can, partly because we have no idea where we'll be living a year from now, and also because there is never nothing to do in October.

The Benjamin House

True story: I won a public speaking contest in college when I told a story about one of my visits to the Benjamin House. Afterward someone came up to me and asked how I came up with such a scary story? "I didn't..." I said slowly... and walked away. 

Just kidding. But not about this house or about my scary story because those things are real. This place has and will forever be the definition of creepy, and conveniently ... it was only about ten minutes away from our high school. The legend I was told as a teenager was that a mother (or father?) went crazy and killed their family in one of the upstairs bedrooms. You'll read something different if you search the story online, but what I can say is true: I've been in this house several times (I even ran into a real witch here!) and after some of the things we saw and heard, I am convinced that if ghosts need a place to hang out, this is where they would do it. Nowadays I'm way too chicken to go back inside the Benjamin House, but we did drive by it one night last month and it gave me the goosebumps to see it at dusk.

Witches Night Out



I can't say I miss much about singlehood, but I do miss spending so much time with my girlfriends annnnd maybe listening to music really loud in the car. Both of these combine wonderfully at Witches Night Out, and any tradition five years running must be saying something.

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch













Max and I will swing by the bookstore and read a few children's Halloween books before visiting the same pumpkin patch we've been going to for years. This year we somehow walked out of our pumpkin patch with a 15 lb. pumpkin the size of a small television. I think Charlie Brown would have been proud.

Not related, but I really love this video



My sister literally never listened to my parents growing up and I had a speech impediment until I was seven.
Happy Halloween!

October 24, 2015

muddy buddy fall break - year 3

This year with our friends made me feel a little bit old because I could barely stomach watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the music we listened to I'm pretty sure no one in high school today has ever heard of, and my bad hip was acting up in the cold. On the other hand, its weekends like these that make me think I'll somehow forever be 21. When we're all together again my body goes back into college-mode, and I can stay up eating pizza and talking until five in the morning and still not hate my life the next day.





On our drive home from Park City I told Max that if I could keep all of the people I loved most in the world all together, and if we could all live on the same block and be friends and neighbors for the rest of our lives, it would be with these people.

"I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends. - Walt Whitman

Year 1
Year 2

October 17, 2015

clue
























































After years of murder mystery parties, I have learned two things: You can never trust someone wearing striped socks, and you can never, ever trust Ben Lewis.

PS. Max looks so cute with a mustache.