Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grapes Should Only Be Sweet

My heart is full of gratitude. Gratitude for my family, my friends, and for my Savior. My best friend/older sister is getting married this week and it is with much emotion (too many to express them all) that I will give her to her new best friend. With pure excitement and anticipation, the house is slowly filling with family members (old and new) and lots of joy and even more noise! I am so blessed to be here for this beautiful occasion. I am even more blessed to know that Meredith is marrying the most amazing man. I could not have picked someone better for her myself. The Lord knows what He is doing, I'm telling you! And they look great together!

It was wonderful to spend the day together with the bridesmaids! Memories of "girls nights" and high school (and college) get-togethers filled the day with smiles. I could not help but feel that change was in the air. Mer getting married first, and I am sure we will all follow suit in our own time. Just as surely as we all hung up our "VL" club sweaters, each of us will move on in life to marriage or missions (or both!) as we make our way as confident women. I love these ladies and am so glad for the time that we have together as friends!

Life is not always peaches and cream--in fact, it is usually the exact opposite. But even through the all of the craziness and the trials and hash that goes on around me, I cannot deny that I am extremely blessed. I am blessed by the righteous example of my beautiful sister. I am blessed to have a loving and supportive family. I am blessed to have amazing parents here on earth. I am more blessed than anything in the world to have Heavenly Parents who know and love me more than I can ever know. I am blessed that They sent their son just for ME. I know that no matter what Jesus Christ loves me. I am so glad that he knows me and knows what I need and when I need it. I have no doubt that my prayers are heard and answered. This does not mean that I am not given trials (believe me, I am) but that I am given trials to become stronger, to learn myself and my limits. He is shaping me to become the woman I need to be to best serve Him.

So in all of the madness of life, I can be nothing if I do not have gratitude!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Please No More Freezer Meals!

Sometimes I feel like people have good intentions but are focused on the wrong ideas. I am sure I have this problem all too often and I wish someone would smack me in the side of the head when I do. I suppose understanding and perspective come with time and emotional maturity, but pettiness just rubs me the wrong way no matter how mature one may be.

 I feel like women innately need to be all up in each others business all of the time for no apparent reason. We act like it is okay by saying things like "I really just care about you" or "I am not judging you" but always turn to tell the next female with ears all about "the craziest thing I just heard, but you can't tell anyone because I promised not to tell"... I don't know why we as women tell other ladies about things we really don't want/need other people to know about. Obviously a need for attention is involved; any secret willingly shared is a secret that will not remain so for much longer once voiced (no matter how soft the whisper). We use excuses like the need for a second opinion or maybe we tell ourselves--or the girl we are spilling our guts to-- that we will understand our own thoughts better if we voice them. We trust not so blindly other women with our innermost hearts only for them to be hung from the flagpole in the middle of campus.

Can we please just worry about our own lives for a minute? If you genuinely care about someone and are concerned about an issue that they shared with you in confidence, talk to that person about it. Leave everyone else out. It is not mean to leave someone "out of the loop" if it is really not their concern. If the issue that was shared is something that may become public, use discretion in informing and seek to diffuse curiosity. Use integrity. Have some class. Seriously, ladies!

 I know that no one ever shares a secret with the intention of "spreading rumors" or heaven forbid "gossiping", but somehow rumors get started and gossip is spread. It is amazing how quickly a speck of dust can turn into a haboob. Information is power, and what we as individuals do with it can have a greater impact than ever intended or imagined. We must realize that there are more people in the world than just "me" and that something that may seem harmless to "me" could devastate one of the other "me's" that just happens to be occupying the same planet. So please, please, please be kind. Be sensitive. Be loving. Be caring. Be concerned. But please don't be petty. Don't share information that is not yours to share. Don't pass along negative judgements. Don't be hurtful--even if you think you are being harmless. Live the golden rule.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thai Before Turkey

Yes, I am aware that Thanksgiving was like a week ago... Yes, I am still going to do a post about it...

Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday. It is a day dedicated to all of my favorite things -- family, friends, cooking, eating, yelling, laughing, and gratitude. This Thanksgiving I was most thankful to be able to actually go home and eat with my family. When I started working in the wonderful world of retail I was forced to prepare for the worst (eating a turkey sandwich in my apartment by myself) which I reluctantly accepted and tried to move on. As I am sure you know, I do not move on easily. I knew if I played my cards correctly at work I would be able to sneak out for a few days to spend the most wonderful day of the year with the people I love most. I am so sneaky. I worked until 3pm on Tuesday and bolted to Salt Lake to make my 5pm flight praying the whole way it would be delayed. It was!!! It is glorious how the Lord can bless us in such small ways! I arrived in Phoenix just a few short hours later, spent a couple of fantastic days with all of my loves (old and new), ate some amazing food (not just turkey), did lots of fun things, met some wonderful new people, got next to no sleep, boarded a plane, went back to work and back to real life. I left my heart in Phoenix, Arizona with the warm and the sun. 24 days!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

All of the Eggs are in the Basket

It is official. I have wussed out on Utah and will be moving back to the warm welcoming arms of Phoenix. Living here in Provo has been one of the most important experiences of my entire life and I would not trade that for anything, but I know it is time to head home where I belong. My semester here has taught me more about myself and about life than I ever could have imagined. Spending this time with my older sister/best friend has been priceless and learning how to function without my mom buying my groceries has been new and exciting. However, I am ready for a new adventure and can't wait to see what is in store for me in AZ! It is crazy how quickly life moves forward and how fun it is to keep up! I just can't wait to get home to the sunshine... Wish me luck in the cold and snow for 37 more days!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Just a Steak and Potatos Kind of Weekend

This weekend was a whirlwind of excitement as I had not seen my family in 2+ months. I spent quite possibly one of the best weekends of my life with good family, good food, and good friends. Lets just say I was not quite ready to head back to P-town this afternoon... I missed all of the people that I love in Utah while I was gone, but I am sure missing everyone that I love in Arizona now! How come I can't be in two places at once?! At least my mom sent me home with a suitcase full of homemade bread and oreos...

Phoenix in the fall is a magical place. There is something so peaceful about the desert when you can actually stand to be outside in it. Cool air in Phoenix is a welcome novelty and I enjoyed the "warmer" temperatures while everyone else froze... I only donned a coat once; I guess after a few days I readjusted and thought it was cold too.

I suppose I am back in good ole Provo for the long haul. School and work are calling my name and I just can't pretend like I don't hear them anymore. So here's to holding chickens, lunch with my mom, pouring rain, sweater shopping with Jare Bear, Painting my nails with Marisa Maurice, Singing with Jason, and Snuggling with Jake the Bake. To hockey games with my dad (eh?), and lists, and farms, and sweeping at the temple, learning new things, and making apple crisp. To seeing old friends, and making new ones, eating burritos(mmmm burritos) and chicken pot pie. But untill Christmas eve, here's to going to school, and Deseret Book, and bachelorette parties, calls from the AZ, and spending time with Meredith. To doing crazy things late at night, and falling asleep to parties outside my window. And above all, no matter where or when--to loving life to the fullest and loving every minute of it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yes, Yes there is a Difference Between Classy Ground Beef and Just the Regular Stuff

Grocery shopping can be a wonderful thing... It is mostly wonderful when your mom is paying for the groceries anyways... This being said, I am a little bit of a food snob and have a tiny bit of a hard time "shopping on a college budget" or whatever my dad calls it. I traipse longingly down the isles of the grocery wishing I could buy six dollar boxes of quinoa and thousands of dollars worth of spices. And who knew fresh vegetables could cost so much money? You can go ahead and forget about baking supplies... Needless to say, I do splurge every once in a while--still not sure what to do with that acorn squash I bought with no fancy ingredients to spice it up--but I mostly try to stick to my "starving student" budget. My pantry shelves stock the essentials but rarely hold a treat. Don't look in the freezer because there is always never ice cream in there. I love to eat and cook and bake and look at and buy food so clearly I have had to set grocery limits for myself... Like I actually follow my own rules, gurl puhlease. i.e. I will never, ever, no matter how poor I ever am, purchase any kind of meat that comes in a plastic tube with those little metal stapely clamps on the ends. Um gross. I have standards. I will also never buy margarine or "buttery spread"... Sorry mom... I can believe it's not butter and believe you me it is NOT butter. Like, I am not a brat or anything, these are just my truest, innermost feelings which I am putting out there for everyone to read and understand. So in true Provo fashion I can just nonchalantly declare that I had better find a rich husband to buy me lots of fancy clothes  groceries. Or something like that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Own Chicken Soup for My Own Soul

Sometimes life seems hard. Sometimes life is lonely. Sometimes I think life sucks (it doesn't). Sometimes life plays cruel jokes and snickers in the corner.
The sun will always shine. Someone will always love me. I can always choose to be happy. There will always be hope.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
-Emily Dickinson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Let me preface this post by saying that I have never won anything. Like ever. Well I guess that was true until this week when I won 3 gift cards at work. Woot woot. I am not bragging because they were all team contests besides one... Which I am bragging about. That's right, this lady has a perfect attendance record at Deseret Book therefore won a $5 frozen yogurt gift card. Look out world!

Okay that is enough gloating, I realize no one really cares that I show up to work on time... I am a very blessed person and was just excited that I won something for the first time. Like ever. I am also blessed to have a mom who will talk to me on the phone 6 times in one day. I will not tell you that I ditched school today, or that I spent the better part of the morning making spaghetti sauce. I will, however, tell you that I saw it snow for the first time today. And let me just say it was not pretty, or magical, or whatever... It was cold and really wet. Guess everything can't be gravy. What is gravy though is how warm and toasty my toes are inside of my cow socks. I wish that I possessed the technical ability to take a photo of them and put it on here, all blogger like, so you could see how darn stinkin cute they are.

In other news, I saw an amazing concert tonight! The BYU homecoming spectacular featuring singer Brian Stokes Mitchell was simply amazing. There is so much talent at this lovely school and Brian Stokes Mitchell is enough to melt even the coldest heart on this freezing little day. Music is truly a wonderful thing!

And one other thing... I am being serious when I say that every time I am going to bed it sounds like a party is happening right under my window. I don't know why they are not partying before I go to bed but as soon as I tuck myself in, It is like the shindig of the year. I am glad that people can have so much fun! College is a wonderful place!

So anyways, there you have the disjointed wanderings of my lovely little brain. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making Stock and Taking Stock

I love my crockpot. I love my family. I love the Gospel. I love my bed. I love to bake. I love the smell of rain. I love my neighbour. I love my job. I love to eat. I love to pray. I love the sunshine. I love my roommates. I love learning. I love the feel of freshly vacuumed carpet. I love sharing. I love my Savior. I love antiques. I love fishies. I love cooking with garlic. I love seeing old friends. I love cheesy movies. I love writing. I love babies. I love the ocean. I love disneyland. I love the temple. I love sharing. I love quiet. I love fried pickles. I love swinging. I love history. I love the smell of coming home. I love Phoenix sunsets. I love Utah fall colors. I love General Conference. I love my life!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Brownies for Breakfast

Work, school, home, sleep, rinse and repeat. My life in short, ladies and gentlemen. As I have been quite busy these last few weeks I have not had time to cook and bake as much as I would like. I find myself eating more and more freezer meals and pb&j and less delicious/healthy home cooked meals. I love cooking and would make a gourmet meal everyday twice a day if I had the time, money, and patience. However, this cannot be. Grocery trips have become less and less exciting as I must restrain myself from buying excessive ingredients for single dishes. Also... I don't know if anyone has noticed, but 'cooking for one' is not quite as glamorous (haha I sing Fergie in my head every time I write that word) as it seems. Cooking delicious food and eating it all by myself--where is the fun in that? I usually only cook when I know others will be around to enjoy it. So come over and I will make you dinner!! I am having serious cooking withdrawals, people!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Sack Lunch and Sirens on the News

Ten years ago today I woke up, ate breakfast, packed my lunch, and went to third grade. Whispers carried across the kitchen as my parents discussed the crisis which was unfolding across the country. Ever the curious eight-year-old, I pleaded with my distressed parents to explain what was happening on the muted news channel. Kindly, patiently, my mother conceded to explain with tears in her eyes that there had been an attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Tears came to my own eyes, though I did not know the significance of those two buildings, I knew the significance of the lives that had been taken. Just two short weeks prior to the catastrophic attacks my beloved mother and father had been vacationing in New York City. In my eight-year-old mind, two weeks may have been two days. I cried and thanked my Heavenly Father that my mom and dad were safe in our home, that those horrible people decided to wait two weeks. To to this day I am so grateful that those terribly misguided men did not take the lives of the people that I love.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for millions of Americans. As I left for third grade thanking heaven for the safety of my family, my best friend was worrying about the heroes in hers. Images of her mother and grandmother crying and clinging to one another for support as they each called family members in New York will never leave my mind.Our parents desperate to preserve a sense of normalcy, kept our play date after school that fated day. I do not remember what games we played, or what snacks we ate--only the images and sounds I glimpsed on the news playing on every television in the house. Somber sobriety pervaded the world, even the elementary school classroom. Never will I forget the impact that these events had on me as such a young American.

I am a member of a new generation. A generation which grew up with a different NYC skyline. A generation who lives in vigilance. A generation that will never feel the security our parents enjoyed in this great land. I love my country. I am so blessed to be an American. So blessed to have had my freedom preserved ten years ago. So blessed to have my freedom continuously preserved. God bless my beautiful country!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Milk Soup, Man Caves, and Mini Miracles

Once upon a time in a mystical land called Provo, Utah my life turned upside down. Well kind of... My life has been constantly changing for the past several months so another small change is not that un-common, but this one included way more drama than needed (I guess it just kept things interesting). On Monday I thought that I had a job and a secure life, but really who can ever actually count on that? On Tuesday I find out that I do not have a job and my life is anything but secure. I proceed to run around Provo like a chicken with its head cut off looking for someone that would possibly consider hiring a poor desperate college student such as myself. After picking up a few applications and shedding a lot a few tears, it was time to make the arduous trek to the holy land for my first day of school. Whoopee! All of my prior hope and excitement sent on the express train straight for the sewer, I attended my first class. Oh good--I know you were worried so I will dispel your fears right about now--I fell in love! No, I did not meet a handsome man in one of my classes, I just never knew just how great learning could be! The balance of the universe was restored to a content, blissful place full of new knowledge and bright horizons. Sounds like a little slice of heaven, however, I did not get home from school until nearly 11:00pm and I was feeling a little more than emotionally drained which means COMFORT FOOD! I ate my midnight snack/dinner and went straight to bed... or hung out with my roommates for a couple of hours and then went to bed... Beauty rest in tact, I geared up for Wednesday and two job interviews. Bring on another crazy day! Both interviews went well and I spent the evening dining on manly barbecue with my not so manly sister at Goodwood Barbecue. Wednesday = good day, if you don't count the three separate trips to university mall (which obviously I do not). Anyways, this little tale is turning into more of an epic so I will skip the rest and just tell you that I was hired at Deseret Book (not an easy job to come by apparently) I attended my second day of class, dropped a class, added a new one, and the world has once again been set right... Until next week...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who knew I could eat so much cereal?

I have always had a glorious dream of living on my own. Being the extremely social creature that I have always been, this dream usually involved me living in the middle of the woods by myself...picture Walden. Okay maybe not that solitary, but I always thought that I would prefer to live sans roommates. Since last Friday I have been living that dream and not exactly loving in. The fact that I don't really know anyone here or have any kind of purpose for the moment has not exactly helped my cause. Maximum efforts have been made to find things to do that do not involve sitting in my apartment and watching hulu, and up until yesterday I was doing relatively well. Thursday, Thursday, gotta get down on Thursday... I ran right of ideas on how to entertain myself. Milk and cookies, reading a book, taking a nap, blog stalking, facebook stalking, pintrest-ing, talking to my mom on the phone, and generally going stir-crazy is what I did yesterday. Here is where the shocking confession comes out--are you ready for it? Maybe not quite... go ahead and sit down and mentally prepare yourself. Okay, here it goes... Just to let you in on a little secret before we get into any major confessing--I have never said these words together in this context ever before... Alright the time has come to say what we have all been waiting for... drum roll please... I CAN'T WAIT FOR SCHOOL TO START! Don't act like you are not impressed. I am also psyched for my roommates to move in today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dinner on the Sofa

As a general rule growing up, our family always ate dinner at the table. Everyone had their seat (beware certain wrath if you sit in the wrong one). We would sit down together and pray over our food, tell everyone about the best and worst parts of our day, and stay at the table until we were excused. In a house full of 8+ people, dinnertime was sometimes our only moment in a busy day to really enjoy each others company--or engage in hour-long shouting matches... You can decide which to paint your ideal picture of my family with. Nevertheless, dinner with my family has always been my favorite part of the day. From a young age I have donned an apron and helped my mom in the kitchen, eventually sharing the duty of preparing family meals. My mother has taught me all that I know about food, love, and life in our kitchen. It is with these fond memories that I prepared my first meal living on my own. Who knew it was harder to make only enough food for two or three servings as opposed to eight or ten? Flying solo at dinner time was a whole new world of freedom, loneliness, and questions of how I would ever finish the leftovers (thanks Garredith for helping me out there). So here's to new memories in my own kitchen and to all of the old memories that will fill my recipes forever.