a christmas carol

December 28, 2015

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!

a quick confession session

November 24, 2015

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.


*Side note: This video warms my heart.

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


November 17, 2015

"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, the second best month of the year

October 31, 2015

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!

muddy buddy fall break - year 3

October 24, 2015

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

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.

an ode to fall

September 27, 2015

Not in my words, but in Mr. Robert Frost's:

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower:
but only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
so dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

ee cummings is to spring what Robert Frost is to fall.

throwback thursday: to catch a thief

September 17, 2015

I watched To Catch a Thief as I was baking cookies the other night, since the rainy weather was keeping me inside the entire afternoon. You can't beat anything that has to do with Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock combined, especially in September. And especially with chocolate chip cookies.

Grace Kelly is the definition of perfection.

And that white dress (!!!!!!!!!) Fashion week will never have anything on that dress.

Naturally, Max thinks I'm the strangest person alive to become nostalgic about a time and place I was never a part of, but these pictures are some of my favorite. One of my very favorite movies too.

a belated goodbye to summer

September 9, 2015

I spent most of my summer inside of an office. Welcome to being 26. I didn't ride a bike once and I only watched part of an outdoor movie, but the few afternoons and weekends I did get to enjoy the sunshine and time with friends were not taken for granted.

Our first day of "summer" I remember well. We had gone to get ice cream and chicken rings and drove down to a baseball game at the park. We listened to That's Life (Frank Sinatra) on our drive over with the windows rolled down and I thought THIS IS SO SUMMER.

The last day of summer felt like a grand finale. I finally had a s'more and got a sunburn. We spent an entire day outside at the pool and played "human surf board." We ate as many meals al fresco and went on a very last minute stargazing picnic. 

As for everything in-between? A blur of the MCAT, fireworks, medical school applications, BBQ's, long hours at work, leaving town, paying bills, sleeping in on Saturday's - etc etc etc.

And because this weekend I have penciled in our "first unofficial day of fall" holiday, I thought I might as well make time to give an official summer goodbye: your long days and warm nights shall be missed by me.


September 5, 2015

I'm convinced feeling like my life is constantly in fast forward will never end. Every month seems to fly by faster than the month before, and most of the time I feel like I'm just trying my best to keep up and enjoy the ride.

Last night Max fell asleep before I did, (which never happens because I usually fall asleep about .5 seconds after my head hits the pillow) and as I sat there in the dark I thought about a million things. I thought about one of the books I've been reading and how I hope it ends; I thought about the lesson I need to teach on Sunday. I thought about the groceries I need to pick up from the store and the tailored suit which needs to be picked up on my way home from work. But mostly I thought about this book that sits next to me on my night stand, and this poem (which I've read so far at least a hundred times)

Late Hours
By: Leisel Mueler 

"On summer nights the world

moves within earshot
on the interstate with its swish
and growl, and occasional siren
that sends chills through us.
Sometimes, on clear, still nights,
voices float into our bedroom,
lunar and fragmented,
as if the sky had let them go long before our birth.

In winter we close the windows
and read Chekhov,
nearly weeping for his world.

What luxury, to be so happy
that we can grieve
over imaginary lives."

heaven will probably be like wallowa lake in the summertime

August 21, 2015

Every summer I try to throw a video together of our week at the lake. I'm SO glad this happens because some memories should never be forgotten. Mainly our family talent shows.


I imagine heaven will be something like Wallowa Lake. The trees and the sunsets, the family game nights and go-kart races, the nonexistent dole whips (RIP), but mostly because I consider my cousins (even though our ages range from 8 - 28) some of my very best friends. Heaven won't be heaven without all of them.

Max and the MCAT

July 23, 2015

I would never, ever wish the MCAT/applying to medical school on anyone. Which sounds really dramatic, (and yes I know this is just the prologue to ten million chapters to follow called: Actually Going to Medical School) but this whole thing is not for the faint of heart.

Max took the MCAT in La Grande, Oregon of all places, in this teeny tiny building on Main Street with three other students. It just so happened that this was the same weekend leading up to our grand family reunion in Wallowa Lake, Oregon so we left a few days early so Max could take his test the Saturday before.

I will never forget that weekend. The night before we went out to eat at Hought's 24 Flavors, "the best diner in Union County!" Mind you, this diner has been open since the 1940's and I am pretty sure we were transported back in time that night, just living the fifties dream on our date night at the soda shop. I was in heaven. After dinner, we got our ice cream to go, and walked around the old neighborhoods nearby. As I admired the bungalows and old rocking chairs on old porches, I am pretty sure Max was just stressing about his test the whole time. I, on the other hand, felt like that night was straight out of a movie. It will always be one of my favorite memories.


The next morning, we woke up at six AM. I remember kissing Max on his way out the door of the hotel room, and I nearly threw up I was so nervous for him. Month and months of studying and here we were. The day of the MCAT. And of course, he did phenomenally well.

Every night I count my lucky stars for Max. For all the lovey-dovey reasons of course, but especially because of the amount of hard work and time and devotion he puts into becoming a doctor. It's honestly amazing, and my heart bursts with pride when I get to talk about him with others. He's going places I'm telling you, and I get to tag along for the ride. At the rate we're going, or at least considering the few school's he's been hearing from, we'll end up on the East coast by this time next year. Which I'm more than okay with. Fifteen-year-old Kelsie is actually screaming inside.

26th birthday eve

July 20, 2015

My feelings regarding my 26th birthday tomorrow are best explained by Joey Tribbiani:

Just kidding (kind of). I can't wrap my mind around being closer to 30 than I am to 20, but 26 is here and I have a whole lot to thank 25 for. So maybe I'm more of a mix between Joey Tribbiani and Robert Browning who once wrote, "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be..." -- maybe just a titch more Joey though.

wallowa lake

July 19, 2015

1. Horseback riding up and down the trail of DEATH. I think I muttered unmentionable words fifty times under my breath - I honestly thought that I was going to die. Didn't help that the very next day someone was life-flighted off the mountain from being bucked off a horse.
2. No A/C. Which usually isn't a problem unless you come home sunburned every day from the lake.
3. No dole whips. I'm tempted to go open up a restaurant selling dole whips and churros and turkey sandwiches.

1. Being with family at one of the prettiest places on earth.
2. Spending time with Max for the first time in what feels like months.
3. Our friendly outdoor neighbor Elvis, the deer.
4. BBQ's and days on the lake.
5. Our "secret-last-night-ritual" (which keeps the Wallowa Lake monster at bay until next year).

Nothing in this world can beat traditions and families and summertime.

God Bless America

July 2, 2015

We spent our last week in Wallowa Lake, as we do every summer, but something caught my eye this time as we drove through the small towns leading up to our family cabins. There were American flags waving on most street corners, homemade banners announcing Fourth of July parades, and signs supporting and thanking the troops who had served from those communities. Max told me as I stopped to take pictures that I had found my people. If they like turkey and cheese sandwiches as much as I do, then I really have.

I love our country, I am proud of our country and I am so grateful to live in this country. I've spent the last month reading The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, and am amazed with every story of those who only 60 years ago, many younger than me, were willing to give up their lives and their jobs and leave their families here at home to protect the safety and freedoms of our country and those abroad.

I've always loved what John F. Kennedy declared in his Inaugural Address in January of 1961,

"We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans... Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty...

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe...

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. 

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

-You can read (and listen!) to the rest of it online here. It gives me chills every time.
Happy Independence Day!

a thought in response to the supreme court rulings

June 26, 2015

Max shared this with me after seeing a friend of his post this online. As always, Elder Neal A. Maxwell expresses himself and the Gospel of Jesus Christ so eloquently, and now I miss miss miss my job at the Maxwell Institute!


"In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ! We are now entering a time of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christianheritage.”

“Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, ‘A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it’ (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.”

“Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, ‘summer is nigh’ (Matt. 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat!”

-Elder Neal A. Maxwell

happy three (three??!!) years!

June 21, 2015

"My young friends, there is much happiness and joy to be found in this life. I can testify of that. 
I picture you with a companion whom you love and who loves you. I picture you at the marriage altar, entering into covenants that are sacred. I picture you in a home where love has its fulfillment. 
I picture you with little children about you and see your love growing with them. I cannot frame this picture. I would not if I could, for it has no bounds. Your happiness will have no ends." 
- Boyd K. Packer

Three years isn't a lot of time to put this quote to the test, but I still feel like chiming in and saying yes yes yes! That's it! That's exactly it! So Happy Anniversary Max, I can't imagine anything more refining or rewarding than what I've experienced over the last three years with you, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

long time no see

June 2, 2015

May has definitely been the busiest month of the year. Work has become increasingly insane, church callings, studying for the MCAT, lots of rain that kept us indoors, yada yada yada... It's gone by fast. Three of the highlights include:

1. I started reading Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Esquire's review perfectly sums it up: "The heart of the story is so good, you find yourself asking how you could not know this already." That is honestly what I ask myself every time I turn the page: HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE!? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?
2. The month of May was mostly rainy, which is why Memorial Day especially felt like the start of summer. We spent so much of the day outside in the sun, reflecting on family and our country and the things we easily take for granted. Memorial day in some ways feels like the prelude to the Fourth of July, with flags waving on street corners and front porches.

That afternoon Max and I spent some time with my dad who shared this with us, which was especially fitting:

"I sometimes wonder how we can best honor our forebears. Might we not best honor them by honoring one another? A watch tick in eternity, you know, and we will ourselves be ancestors. What would we desire most from our posterity? 

Personally, I feel that I should not care if my posterity failed to do special homage to me on occasions like this. But I am sure I should be unhappy if they failed on all occasions to be kind, considerate, helpful to one another. 

If Father and Mother were to reprimand me today, I am sure it would not be for thoughtlessness regarding them. It would rather be for thoughtlessness regarding my living brothers and sisters, my failure to draw nearer to them in these hard declining years, nearer to them in sympathy and helpfulness. 

Why not in the future make our reunions something that will draw us all a little closer together in understanding, sympathy and love."
-Parley Alma Christensen

Parley Alma Christensen is my great-grandfather. We visited his grave that afternoon together, and I hope I get to meet him someday. If he was anything like his son, and my grandpa, (and it sounds like he was) he is someone I hope I can be like too.


3. Max had a Birthday! Considering Max and I met when we were fifteen, birthdays always feel a little extra special. There is something so rewarding looking back and seeing how far you've come, and how far you get to go with each other. We celebrated the big day together up at Sundance, and I think I told Max at least half a dozen times that we have to spend more time up there before our move next summer. 

And that is that. May was a busy month, plenty of highs and lows included, but I can't complain. And now that I think about it, I've been to In & Out twice this week which is a telltale sign it's JUNE.
I can't complain about that either. 

tuesday night lights

April 29, 2015

So a group of friends decided to start a spring baseball team called: the young stunnas. I don't know who came up with our team name, but I feel like half the time we're with friends I look around and think "how are we all closer to 30 than 20?" And then I can't think about it anymore because... thirty. I can't go there yet.

Since the season began I have yet to actually play a game. I've been sick the last three weeks with everything ending in "itis" (bronchitis, conjunctivitis, sore-throat-itis, every-other-itis) and so my spot on the team has been hanging out in the dugout. I wish I could write about an incredible last minute win after an amazing home run, but unfortunately our team stats are running 0 - 4 this season. In case you didn't catch on, we're 0.

And I wish I could say that it's still okay to lose when you're playing America's favorite pastime with a group of friends, but the truth is we're all so bad we might need therapy after this.

throwback thursday and other things

April 22, 2015

I am on a huge 90's music kick. I was driving with my dad in the car a few days ago and as we listened to the Backstreet Boys I caught myself saying, "Music was just so much better back then." I felt like I was 25 going on 50.

I watched the documentary Fed Up three nights ago with Max, and if the proof is in the pudding then you should know that this is why I've gone three days without Diet Coke. Fact 1: If nothing changes, then it is predicted that over 90% of all Americans will be overweight or obese in two decades. Fact 2. One in three kids are expected to have diabetes by 2050. Fact 3. This if the first generation of American children that are expected to live shorter lives than their parents.
--- Whether or not these facts entirely check out, we were both convinced to give up our beloved cancer-inducing diet coke. for now.

Speaking of which, I've never given much thought to eating "organically" - that is, until, my friend and his older brother started the blog True Organic Purity. Who would have thought human meat was vegan?

And last but not least, for whatever reason nearly all of the texts messages I've been sending/receiving to/from friends and family are all blasts from the past... We even ran across this little gem below:

An Avril Lavigne music video in a CalRanch Parking lot. __________ Judging space.

And as for life in the Bingham home, life is flyyyyyyyyying by. We're in full MCAT mode over here, but I can't complain because the high is 75 and I just finished spring cleaning. HOLLA.

"when the earth is puddle-wonderful"

March 30, 2015

Max and I went on a picnic Sunday afternoon.
We sat under this tree.
And naturally, Edward Estlin Cummings came with us:

the great advantage of being alive
(instead of undying)is not so much
that mind no more can disprove than prove
what heart may feel and soul may touch
—the great(my darling)happens to be
that love are in we,that love are in we

excerpts from some of the books i've been reading lately...

March 9, 2015

“As I stood outside in Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 
No ... eight days a week.”

“Mediocrity, I discovered, was the great camouflage; the great protective coloring. Those boys who did not fail, yet did not excel, were left alone, free of the demands of the master who might wish to groom them for glory and of the school bully who might make them his scapegoat. That simple fact was the first great discovery of my life.” 
-Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

“There’s no point in being unhappy about things you can’t change, and no point being unhappy about things you can.” 
-Dan Harris, 10% Happier


“Bedtime makes you realize how completely incapable you are of being in charge of another human being. My children act like they've never been to sleep before. “Bed? What’s that? No, I’m not doing that.” They never want to go to bed. This is another thing that I will never have in common with my children. Every morning when I wake up, my first thought is, “When can I come back here?” It’s the carrot that keeps me motivated. Sometimes going to bed feels like the highlight of my day. Ironically, to my children, bedtime is a punishment that violates their basic rights as human beings. Once the lights are out, you can expect at least an hour of inmates clanging their tin cups on the cell bars.” 
- Jim Gaffigan, Dad is Fat

life father like daughter

March 3, 2015

This post is just to say that when my dad sent me this picture of him at 23, I really just saw me.
We could basically be twins.

third grade advice

February 27, 2015

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Laura Dern said that the best advice she ever received was from a third grade teacher who told her to, "Keep your eyes on your own paper." 

I don't know why reading that really stuck years after I heard the same thing plenty of times in elementary school, but it stuck.

Although I'm sure it has always been human nature, I think it's easier than ever these days to compare ourselves to others. Sometimes I catch myself thinking - wait a second, I'm 25 years old! Doesn't that mean we should have a house by now? Where are our children? Where is my condo in Hawaii? Why doesn't my hair look like that? Why can't we vacation every other weekend? (okay, I'm exaggerating) but you get the point. We all do it. And we all get why not to do it.

But that's why I especially like the way Laura Dern phrased it, because we've all heard that too: "Keep your eyes on your own paper." When I look back at my own life, or in this case, "at my own paper" and I see all that I've done and learned and am continually trying to achieve, it's not half bad. In fact, it's pretty great. I consider myself lucky and (donthatemeforsayingthis) blessed - (yes, I know blessed is the most over-used word in the world of blogging, but I don't have my thesaurus on hand).

I'm a big believer in the power of gratitude and counting your blessings and so on, but I like the idea of "keeping your eyes on your own paper" a lot too. SO that's it. TGIF.

fight the new drug

February 24, 2015

I felt just a little bit honored when I received an email from Fight the New Drug asking for a bit of a shout-out about their organization on my blog.

Fight the New Drug started a few years ago with a group of people who wanted to raise awareness and combat the harmful effects pornography has in our world today using only science, facts and personal accounts. It's been gaining momentum ever since and thankfully people are becoming more and more aware of the dangers pornography has on it's users, and consequently their relationships as well.

While working within family law over the last year, I can attest to the fact that pornography continues to have an impact on 99.9999999% of the divorce/custody/or assault cases we see in our office every day. It's heartbreaking to sit in client meetings and hear pornography come up in one way or another, and further learn of the tragic and devastating effects it has had on couples, their children, and the individuals themselves.

While Max was at the University of Utah (have I mentioned he transferred to BYU last year? I consider this conversion one of my finer accomplishments ;) he was able to volunteer as a Chapter President for Fight the New Drug at the U and it has been something he is equally as passionate about as I am. The truth is: Pornography is an unfortunate part of the world we live in today - we are one click away from finding a pornographic image, video or forum online. But this is exactly why Max and I, and the people at Fight the New Drug, think it's just as important to spread the awareness for the fight against pornography - and it's just a click away too!

For more information, or if you're interested in becoming a fighter yourself, can read more about the fight here.

this picture does not represent valentines day

February 13, 2015

I imagine that our Valentines Day plans will and will not include: snuggling up in our bed instead of a canoe, wearing sweats (not a skirt), watching a movie (not the sunset/stars/or gazing into each others eyes), and eating bread sticks (not cupcakes). This probably isn't what inspired my beloved ee cummings' poetic material - but it's our plans for Valentines Day and I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT.

So Happy St. Valentines Day! Happy Day of Love! As the French would say, Joyeuse Saint Valentin a tous les amoureux -- or in other words, kiss your significant other, listen to the Backstreet Boys and watch An Affair to Remember for me.


the struggle is real.

January 30, 2015

at least the good news is that my friends and co-workers get me.
don't mind me wearing black for the next few days.

my little sister is married

January 26, 2015

I knew Joseph would be "the one" for my sister when I spent two hours one Saturday morning talking with him on the phone while I cleaned my apartment. Any guy (aside from Max) who will talk to me for a few hours just about stuff? I knew he would have to be related to me one day. After I got off the phone I really did call my mom and say, "Mom. Kenna has got to marry Joseph. I love him." And that's exactly what happened last Friday.

I mean seriously - Kenna looked like a princess. I don't think I've ever seen her as serene and as happy and as beautiful in my entire life. And Joseph is the cutest human being on the planet. We joke that if Max or my Dad looked at me or my mom the same way Joseph looks at Kenna, we'd think something was wrong with our face. It was apparent to everybody that day how much they both adore and love each other.

I couldn't feel any more blessed to have Joseph become the final puzzle piece (besides future children of course!) to our family. It was a roller-coaster ride for Ken to get there, but I am so, so happy for her. Our family is complete.

a lesson to be learned re jay-z

January 21, 2015

Sometimes January can really be the pits. Luckily 2015 is turning out just fine, but I told Max I think that's because January 2013 was TRULY A NIGHTMARE and someone in heaven knows that I couldn't survive another month like that ever again.

Last year around this same time I had mentioned that I karaoke'd for the first time in my life (which had always been on my bucket list) and this year, I'm proud to announce that Max just karaoke'd with me. Our song of choice: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's Ain't No Mountain High Enough -- the anthem of true love. I was so proud of us! I still am! We knocked it out of the ball park. Unfortunately, I got just a little bit cocky and tried my hand at Jay-Z later that night... if there was ever a failure of all failures, that was it.

Anyway, if you're feeling blue this month - I would highly suggest singing out loud in public. If you live in Utah, I would also suggest you try the karaoke bar in downtown Murray. They even serve free diet coke all night! But most importantly, let it be known: One day I will try my hand again at Jay-Z. Except next time there will be no glasses. I blame it on the glasses. No one should ever rap Jay-Z with their reading glasses on.


January 16, 2015

My sister and I may/may not have tried to see if Maroon 5 could show up to her wedding next Friday?

balancing life and mitt romney

January 13, 2015

Today I needed to: meet with the carpet cleaners, attend several case task and client meetings, get my dying car battery replaced, go grocery shopping, respond to emails waiting in my inbox, meet Max at the gym, check off on visiting teaching, etc etc etc etc etc...
And I've completed TWO of those things today.
TWO of the many things on my very-important-never-ending-must-get-done-today list.
And now it's 8 PM.
And I'm stressing about all that I haven't done, while not getting anything done.
And I keep thinking to myself how on earth am I going to accomplish everything else going on this week? Or next week? Or, because I'm a girl, the rest of my life? (ha ha ha)

I spent New Years afternoon sitting on the couch with Max writing a list of things I was going to improve this year: Actually cook a meal (not a lean cuisine) for dinner on Tuesday nights. Draft court pleadings on my own (without always asking for help). Stay on top of laundry (not going to go there). New primary presidenct = really get to know the children I am serving (still learning names). Spend a devoted amount of time with friends and family (I still haven't met baby Harper) and yeah. You get the idea.

I know I'm not alone. And I know having goals and being busy isn't always a bad thing. But when I start to beat up on myself for not staying on top of my very-important-never-ending-must-get-done-today list, I think about something Mitt Romney shared a few months ago in a forum at BYU. I (obviously) was there (front and center) -- and during the Q&A session he shared the following advice:

"Balance is something I’m always asked about, about work, family, church, community. I once joked that if you’re not fulfilling all the things you’d like to do in your family, if you’re not getting the job done at work and you’re not fulfilling your church callings like you ought to then things are in balance. But the truth is, for me, family came first. Family, faith and our country, and those are the things that are meaningful to me and you give yourself to those things as you can...
There’s a tendency, sometimes, by the way, for people to think that instead of balancing all these things all the time, that you should do one for some time and another for a different time and another for a different time. Such as, you’re gonna go off to graduate school so you’re gonna put your marriage aside because you want to make it work in graduate school... That, in my opinion, is a big mistake.
Yet if I wasn’t working, I felt there was this cloud hanging over me that I should be working or studying. And I decided I wasn’t going to do [that] any more... A lot of people at the end of the day bring their work home from work in a briefcase, or now, an iPad, and they devote themselves after dinner to continuing work. I made it a practice, unless there was a very unusual circumstance, that when I came home from work and shut the door, I devoted myself entirely to the home and the family. Home was my sanctuary from everything else in the world.
I know it's easier said than done, but I really liked that bit of advice. It reminded me of what Elder Ballard once shared, "What matters the most is what lasts the longest."

And I guess that kind of sums up my thoughts entirely.
Maybe my new-new-years-resolution can be: always remember that.

hellllllllllllllo 2015!

January 7, 2015

As Julie Andrews sang on the television last night:

"I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides which you see I have confidence in me"

And I have confidence in 2015.
The Sound of Music has always answered many of life's questions -- and also provides great background music for cleaning the kitchen.

One of my favorite parts of New Years is putting up a new calendar with 365 days to go. Or seeing the calendar on my iPhone change at midnight.

(and, if you really must know, I didn't read 100 books last year. not even 50. soo here's to reading at least two a month?)

And here's to 2015!

california coast (part 2)

January 6, 2015

Big Sur:

The drive was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be, but so much more stunning. We drove down the 85 miles of coastline and saw whales and elephant seals along the way. It reminded me of New Zealand a little bit - I didn't think anything on earth could be as pretty, but this sure came close.

San Simeon:

Please, whatever you do, GO TO HEARST CASTLE. Oh how I wish I could go back in time and visit the castle in its heyday when guests like Cary Grant and Clark Gable were frequent visitors, and then spend my afternoons reading by the Neptune Pool or watching black and white silent films in Mr. Hearst's private theater. What a life that would be!

Cambria/San Luis Obispo:

Cambria is such a hippie town but I loved it. Eat at Lynn's Café. And Make sure to stop by bubble gum alley and Madonna's Inn in SLO.

So Cal:

Yeah, I'm one of those weirdos (according to Jim Gaffigan) but I think if you go to California - you have got to go to Disneyland. Plain and simple.

And that's how we roll.

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