christmas morning

December 26, 2014


We spent Christmas morning this year visiting a local care center singing Christmas carols and delivering treats to those who were still around. The people in the care center that morning were those who didn't have family or friends to take them to nearby homes for Christmas parties or big family dinners, which made me especially mindful of those who we were visiting with.

One thing I wanted to jot down about that morning (besides visiting with the woman in the Alzheimer unit who thought Michael Jackson was her husband + Max performing the moonwalk for her) was our visit with Bruce. Bruce was what my cousins referred to as "gansta grandpa" -- tattoo's up and down his arms and legs, war veteran, I think he even might me hiding a stash of tobacco somewhere in his room ;) -- and he had a heart of gold. Max had mentioned he liked the shirt Bruce was wearing (picture: skulls and crossbones and chains) before leaving his room, and moments later we saw Bruce scooting down the hallway on his little walker holding a similar shirt for Max - skulls and all. He even kept it on the hanger.

Well, I felt like my heart grew three sizes. No doubt Bruce in his old age, in this small room, in this tiny care center, has only a few possessions to his name -- and yet he still wanted to give something to someone. On the snowy drive home, I got teary listening to Silent Night and thinking about Bruce.  In years to come I will no doubt forget the presents I received this year, but I will never forget Bruce or the morning we spent singing carols. It was one of the most special Christmas mornings I've ever had.

a muddy buddy christmas

December 22, 2014



This year we kept our annual Christmas Party pretty low-key, and spent our evening eating pizza and old Halloween candy while competing in interpretive ginger-house building.


 We even tried to build a human pyramid - which we will blame on the sugar.

 

These people are my people. And as Tiny Tim would say: God bless us, everyone!

(december recap)

December 19, 2014

(I wrote a lot of these posts a few weeks ago, but never got around to sharing any of them.... i apologize for the overload, as this is the only journal I am still trying to keep up on)

If you were to ask Max how I was doing the last half of December, he would have told you I was especially weepy. Weepy is really the right word because that's really what I did: I wept. Not cried or sobbed or got teary. I wept on and off for days (for multiple reasons) so here's a why-I-wept-recap:

1. My sister is engaged!



Max told Kenna months ago, "I will cry if Joseph isn't my brother-in-law by the end of the year." Well, almost. They get married in a few weeks and I can't think of anyone on this planet better suited for my sister then Mr. Orgill. He's an answer to many prayers, and I feel so lucky he's going to be my new brother, and so happy that my sister gets him forever. And don't get me started on that wedding ring... I got to see it a few days before Joseph proposed and even that made me weep!


2. Max finishing finals week

YOU GUYS. I can't name anyone I know of anywhere that is a harder worker than Max. He spent well over a thousand hours fall semester working on his schoolwork (4.0), his work-work (teaching Japanese), volunteering (hospice + local junior highs), church callings (bishopric meetings at 6:30 am? who survives this?) and somehow, someway he still makes me feel not-so-much like a widow by taking me out to lunch every Friday. We went out to dinner to celebrate the end of this grueling semester - and yes, I wept at the dinner table. I love Max so much.

3. Christmas get-togethers.

As much as I love Christmas parties with friends, nothing quite tops getting together with family. This year was a big trip down memory lane for me, remembering things like the "Chinese Man" or the "Backstreet Boys game" (this game consisted of pretending we were on a cruise with the Backstreet Boys - why a cruise? I don't know). I love being with my family because I've been blessed with the very best. The sweetest Grandparents, sassy aunts and funny uncles and cousins who are overly obsessed with Harry Styles - they're all the best.


And then there's this.
The best ending of any movie ever made.



Are you weeping yet?

a christmas miracle

December 16, 2014

the last few days have been full of Christmas parties, movies, music, treats -- and even a Christmas miracle: we finally got a little bit of snow.


and I'm getting gas for 2.12. thank you world.

these are a few of my favorite things

December 2, 2014

The other night I was thinking about the holiday traditions Max and I have continued/and created on our own over the last two (this will be our third!) Christmas together, and what I hope continues on through the years with children a part of the mix one day too:

1. The Nutcracker or Handel's Messiah


We've rotated between these two events every other year and I absolutely love them both. Max was never one to jump for joy when I mentioned going to the ballet or seeing the Utah Symphony, but I think a part of him might enjoy it now as much as I do. I honestly believe everyone needs to sing the Hallelujah chorus with an orchestra and choir at least once in their lifetime. It's amazing. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

2. We read Christmas Every Day & The Fourth Wiseman every year together.

I grew up reading Christmas Every Day, and Max read The Fourth Wiseman on his first Christmas in the mission field -- these both tie for two of our favorite Christmas stories. I also try and read A Christmas Carol on my own since I've read it nearly every holiday season since the 7th grade. It nearly ties with Great Expectations in my book.

3. Overnight in SLC


One day I really hope we can spend a holiday season in New York City, but for now we like to spend a weekend up in Salt Lake. Temple Square, carriage rides, Breakfast with Santa at the Grand America -- this will suffice until ice skating in Central Park happens.

4. Presents

This year will be our second year spending the holidays away from home, so we're keeping our presents minimal: (1) Something you want, (2) something you need, (3) something to wear, (4) something to read. It made Christmas shopping so simple, and lets be honest: most of us would rather spend our money on going somewhere rather than on something.



5. Luke 2

Like the rest of the Christian world, we have always read Luke 2 on Christmas Eve. Somewhere along the lines, my family started reading these scriptures by candlelight and afterward, we have a small testimony meeting and share with each other some of our thoughts about the Savior's humble birth and His life. This tradition will always be especially close to my heart.

And yes yes yes, the list goes on. But it's nearly midnight and I must retire for a long winters nap - or at least eight hours of sleep. I'd sleep 18 if I could.

thankful thanksgiving turkeys

November 27, 2014

You get a group of adults together the night before Thanksgiving (or as we prefer to call it, the muddy buddies #friendsgiving) and somehow this happened.


Just kidding. I basically begged everyone to make one in-between sharing Youtube videos and watching movies, but they complied with my wishes and voila! Our thankful thanksgiving turkey door is complete.


Earlier this week for FHE, Max and I listened to this talk while decorating our Christmas tree. Yes, it went up before Thanksgiving, but I just wanted to share a small part of it:

Some murmur when the sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue:
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.

I think I've harped enough on the subject of my blessings book this year, but I can honestly say it has once again changed my life. Focusing on what I have, rather than what I don't, makes all the difference in the world. I could give you a lifetime's worth of things I am so grateful for this year, but all I want to say is that I am especially, especially, especially thankful for my Rhett Butler and my Laurie Laurence - my best friend and husband, Max. I am so grateful you are mine, and for all the hard work you put into our little life together. It's been such a wonderful year.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

11/11/11

November 11, 2014

Three years ago on this ever so fateful day (because for real: 11/11/11 only comes around once every 100 years), my best friend of all best friends came home from serving an LDS mission in Fukuoka, Japan. I remember it all like it was yesterday - and it was more wonderful and awkward (emphasis on wonderful and awkward combined) than anything I could have imagined ;)

Max and I met when we were fifteen years old = that's ten years with a zillion bajillion memories to choose from. But I still have to say that those two years Max served his mission, while both of us were growing up and gaining testimonies and having our own experiences worlds apart, will always be two of the best years that ever happened to us.

video

So in honor of today, please enjoy this extremely awkward video that Benjamin the videographer took minutes after we first saw each other for the first time in two years. As Ben said, quote: It was history in the making.

as abraham lincoln once said...

November 4, 2014


“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision.
If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds,
 then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

PREACH.

and all that jazz

October 28, 2014

Duke Ellington, feather boas, smoke and cigarettes (or cigars if we're being picky) in other words: Another year, another murder mystery!  Ben & Amber hosted our party last weekend at the Westgate Resort in Park City, also known as the Four Deuces Club -- and yes, it felt as fancyshmancy as what I imagine a 1920's club would have been like 100 years ago.

  

Max and I got to dress up as Big Jim & Vicki Ravioli - the ex husband and wife at the party
(also, I wore red lipstick for the first time in my life. i'm 25 and moving on up in the world)


After starting a running bet, we considered ourselves lucky that by the end of the night our hotel neighbors never called down hotel security - even after gunshots, mysterious knockings, dead bodies being found next to ice picks, axes, and cyanide (seriously, we were out to solve ten murders by the end of the night) I felt like I was in Clue.

A BIG THANK YOU to Ben and Amber for being such amazing hosts - they truly outdid themselves, and deep down I think we all know the bar has been set very high for next year too ;)

I hope your upcoming Halloween is just as spooky!!

what i know for sure

October 23, 2014


It's that time of year again... where I spend any free afternoon I have at Barnes & Noble trying to catch up on my reading goals for this year (still don't know how I'll do it), but the cherry on top comes with Starbucks caramel hazelnut steamers. Max thinks steamed milk is the most overpriced thing to pay for in this world, but not I. I love it. Last weekend I was really excited because I had an entire Saturday afternoon free from responsibility and Max got to join me for a night at the bookstore. I've started a few books I really want to talk about sometime (Sold, Jesus on Trial, #Girlboss) and I finished Oprah Winfrey's What I Know For Sure, so wanted to share a favorite excerpt from the book:

--

"Say Thank You," Many years ago, those words from Maya Angelou turned my life around.

I was on the phone with her, sitting in my bathroom with the door closed and the toilet lid down, weeping so uncontrollably that I was incoherent.

"Stop it!" Maya chided. "Stop it right now and say thank-you."

"But you-you don't understand," I sobbed. To this day, I can't remember what it was that had me so far gone, which only proved the point Maya was trying to make.

"I do understand," She told me. "I want to hear you say it now. Out loud. 'Thank you.'"

Tentatively, I repeated it: "Thank you." And then snuffed some more. "But what am I saying thank-you for?"

"You're saying thank-you," Maya said, "because your faith is so strong that you don't doubt that whatever the problem, you'll get through it. You're saying thank you because you know that even in the eye of the storm, God has put a rainbow in the clouds... Say thank-you!"

So I did - and still do.

Being grateful all the time isn't easy. But it's when you feel least thankful that you are most in need what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude transforms any situation. Its the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life - this I know for sure.

Here's the gift of gratitude: In order to feel it, your ego has to take a back seat. What shows up in its place is greater compassion and understanding. Instead of being frustrated, you choose appreciation. And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for...

Whatever you're going through, you will do just that: go through it. It will pass. So say thank-you now. Because you know the rainbow is coming.

--

I've thought a lot about what I know for sure since reading Oprah's book, (and there's a lot more to my own list than I thought there would be) - but one thing I can definitely share with Oprah is the power of gratitude. Those I know who are most happy, always always always fall under the category of being most grateful too.

"there is a fifth dimension..."

October 20, 2014

I made Max promise me the other night to never, ever, ever, ever let me watch a scary movie again. We watched the movie Woman in Black (with Harry Potter? Have you seen it?) and I think I had a heart attack twice. I am to the age (?) or point in life (??) or whatever it is (???) that has changed the enjoyment I once had while watching scary movies to total and complete misery for days on end. I go to bed and can't help but think of the witch or ghost or whatever it was in whatever scary movie I watched and thus, I hate it.



So this Halloween I've taken care of my "scary movie fix" by watching Twilight Zone episodes instead. Below are a list of a few of my favorites (for any of you fellow non-scary-movie-goers!):

1. The Hitch Hiker - Hands down, this was theee creepiest Twilight Zone episode I've seen yet.
2. Eye of the Beholder.
3. Living Doll - "My name is Tina and I'm going to kill you." Hellllo.
4. Deaths-head Revisited - Although they have several episodes fixed around WWII and the holocaust, this one was by far my favorite.
5. The Invaders - I don't think there are even any words in this episode! It's that creepy!

So here's to a good ol' fashion fifties Halloween -- before there were ever movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Human Centipede (For real. I saw that movie at Redbox last week. What is happening.)

happiness in a box

October 13, 2014

It's already October 13th (say whaaaaaat?) 
This means 3 things:


1. Happiness can be found in a box.


2. My dance/rap skills are significantly improving.



3. We are spending plenty of time up at Sundance.

So in a nutshell: this year makes fall my favorite again. 

september 2014

September 29, 2014





I love Balboa Bars.
Max dressed up as Mickey Mouse.
I lost my voice at a football game (who am I?)
Sweater weather. 

The end.

a person who has good thoughts

September 23, 2014


"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."
-Roald Dahl

hanging out with my muddy buddies

September 18, 2014

Soooo lets talk about fall break. Even though most of us aren't in school anymore, (and fall break is nonexistent at the Y) it has morphed into somewhat of a tradition amongst the "muddy buddies." This year was a special treat because:
1. Sundance is GORGEOUS this time of year.
2. I think I ate the best homemade pizza EVER.
and 3. Even though we brought scary movies galore, we spent the entire weekend talking around the fireplace 'til the early hours of the morning. I don't think there is anything else I like more than the combination of all of the above.


(is this real life?!)


(watching them hike up stewart falls nearly gave me a heart attack)

(as Heaston would say, "Good day Brother Joseph")

I used to think that my group of friends would be friends forever - that somehow/someway life would take us all in the same direction, and we'd always be in touch and all of our relationships would remain the same. But boy was I wrong! Missions, marriages, moving different places, maturity, the passing of time and so on has changed us all. And I know well by now that friends come and go, things change, and life carries on - and that it's all a good thing. A very good thing. But with that being said, this is also why I consider it somewhat serendipitous (maybe even a tiny bit miraculous) that the few of us left have all stayed friends for nearly a decade (!!!) and counting.

I fell asleep one night this past weekend next to the fireplace while everyone stayed up late talking about all sorts of things, like the best restaurants we've ever been to and the blessings that come from fasting and prayer - and right before I fell asleep I made a mental note to say a quick thank-you-prayer because I realized that there is almost no greater blessing than to be surrounded by people who, as President Uchtdorf put it, "lift where they stand."

So life will keep on changing, and who knows where we'll be five years from now - but in a world where good friends are hard to come by, I count my lucky stars that I've had them for this long.

happy birthday mother dearest

September 15, 2014

I know parents are well known for bragging about their kids, but I think I'm better at bragging about my parents.


And yes, my Mom was/is/and forever more will be one sexy lady - and because she would kill me if I posted her drivers license picture, and because my dad wouldn't let me a tape a Tim Riggins poster to their bedroom door (who wouldn't want a good morning birthday greeting from him?) I will instead share a photo of my mother as Miss July at BYU back in the 80s - she hardly looks a day older ;)

Happy Birthday Mother Dearest, I love you!
Thank you for being my bffaeae for life.
(and making sure dad never starved us to death ;)

september 11th, 2001

September 11, 2014

A few months after September 11th, I remember my family was held up at the LAX airport for a few hours due to a delayed layover. My sister and I got to go pick out a few magazines while we waited for our flight home, and I can still remember seeing this picture for the first time in Time Magazine. I've loved it ever since.


"On a normal day, we value heroism because it is uncommon. 
On September 11th, we valued heroism because it was everywhere."

back to school = makes me miss hawaii

September 4, 2014

Without fail, every single year right around September I get reaaallllly nostalgic about BYU Hawaii. I mean really, really nostalgic. Not that I didn't love school in Provo, but what are you going to miss more? Studying at the beach or in your cinder block dorm room? (the answer is beach, obviously)





don't mind these ghetto pictures from 2007 
i think my digital camera back then had a screen that was 3x3 cm - yes, centimeters

I've written about my freshman year before, as a newly 18 year old adventuring out on my own in small town Laie - and even after all these years it remains one of my sweetest memories. I can still remember as if it were yesterday, walking into my first college class: English 101 (I was already completely sunburned from spending too much time outside) and I remember introducing myself amongst other classmates who were from all around the world - some places I hadn't even heard of. I remember thinking (maybe the first time in my life) that there were a million other places other than Utah that I would want to see and travel to and live one day (hint hint Max ;)


Last fall, Max applied and was accepted into BYU Hawaii -- and trust me when I say that that was one of the hardest decisions to turn down... ever. But for a hundred other reasons at the time, we knew it would be the smartest (although not the most exciting) to stay here. So here we are! Good ol' Utah. And we've been blessed far more than we deserve so I can't complain, but days like today the idea of a new adventure sounds more than wonderful to me.
(especially if it's in Hawaii)

see you next year summer

September 1, 2014


This summer might have been one of the best. The night I took this picture (just a few weeks ago) will be one of my favorite dates I have ever had with Max -- and yes Mom and Dad, I'm only more convinced that California and year round warm weather is calling my name (they were both born/lived in California/Hawaii and so I will never understand HOW my family ended up in snowy Utah ;) But seriously.

And Max begins school tomorrow morning and our summertime wreath is coming down today, so we will end it all by going to see Herman's Hermits in the park tonight (I'm Henry the VIII I Am? Anyone?) - a part of my soul belongs in the fifties and sixties too.  

So that's it. Happy, Happy Labor Day! And goodbye most wonderful summer! We'll see you next year.

molecular biology

August 28, 2014

Figure A: Max's molecular biology homework



Figure B: candy gram celebrating the end of summmma semester


If I could understand half of a half of a half of what Max has to study in school,
I think I would deserve a candy gram too.

the perfect s'more

August 25, 2014

The other weekend we went on our second picnic of the summer. Yep, it was only our second picnic and considering our schedules over the next few weeks, it will probably be our last (how has this summer gone by so fast??)

Anyway, a recommendation for those of you who like s'mores:


We didn't have a campfire or a microwave on hand, so we decided to grill it. Yep, the graham cracker + the mallow + and the chocolate + all together + on the grill. Leave it for just a few minutes (maybe three), and voila! Everything was just perfect - easily the best s'more I've ever had!

As for our summer to-do list:


We've checked off most of our list! Last Labor Day I was legitimately depressed about the end of summer, but this year - I can't wait! Football games, carving pumpkins and wearing new sweaters (shopping helps just a titch :) I'm all for September.


And excuse me for saying it (again), but these two are the cutest.

for those of you who may wonder what i feel about president obama.

August 23, 2014

I had a lumpectomy several weeks ago -- and I really should say that first of all, I am so, so grateful to report that the tumor was benign. Prior to the surgery though, (and obviously aside from the incisions and scare of cancer itself) I was deathly afraid of going under anesthesia. Anesthesia posed two main threats in my mind: 1) I may never wake up again and 2) If I did wake up, what was I going to say in front of a bunch of people I didn't know? (can you tell yet that this was my first surgery...ever?)

Well, the surgery went smoothly, and I woke up alive and well at the end of it too... so I should have just been really happy, but I wasn't. Because that's when I found out that the President of the United States of my beloved America was none other than President Barack Obama.


This is actually just a tiny clip of a 30 minute video Max got on his phone (most of which I'd be too embarrassed to share) but this part... well I had to. Lets just say anesthesia is definitely the new highlight of any surgery in my opinion, just don't ask me about President Obama and his "foreign policies" - because he has none, and it will probably make me cry. Again.

happy, happy monday

August 18, 2014


I think I'm cursed every Monday morning. Waking up = death. When I finally get into work there are already a million emails/hearings/trials/subpoenas/meetings/phone calls needed to be made,  even though I was all caught up last Friday afternoon? And that just takes us to 10 AM.

So today was chaos. 
But then I ran across this:

"Promise yourself 

To be so strong that nothing 
can disturb your peace of mind. 
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity 
to every person you meet. 

To make all your friends feel 
that there is something in them. 
To look at the sunny side of everything 
and make your optimism come true. 

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, 
and to expect only the best. 
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others 
as you are about your own. 

To forget the mistakes of the past 
and press on to the greater achievements of the future. 
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times 
and give every living creature you meet a smile. 

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others. 
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear 
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.

To live in faith that the whole world is on your side,
so long that you are true to the best that is in you."
-Christian D. Larson

I love it.
I love it so, so much. 
I love people who are like this (I luckily know a whole bunch of them)
And I'd like to always be like this too.

Happy, Happy Monday!

(and thanks to Amanda for sharing it with me!)

PS. I can't love Taylor Swift (or her new song) any more than I do now.

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