Saturday, December 13, 2014

Here's Why I Hate You.

I hate you, Facebook.

A recent post in my Instagram feed, that I completely disagreed with, prompted this post. So let's get to it.

Let's take a look at my Facebook page shall we?

There's me. This is what you see. I have 469 friends. I have pictures of my husband, my pets, and me. I'm married. I live in Boise. Cool.

Here's some more.

These are pretty much the only things I post about. My family & pets, my Etsy shop, and the occasional luxurious experience like going on vacation or buying a new eyeshadow palette.

Looking at these regular posts, let's gather some descriptions about me. What would you use to describe me? Vain because I've posted pictures of myself? Attention seeking because I'd like business for my shop? Spoiled? Selfish?

Or maybe you're nice and you think, "She looks nice today," or "I'm glad she had fun on vacation."

Here's the problem with Facebook. You don't know anything about me. Unless you've spent a great deal of time with me, you just don't know. So let me introduce myself.

Let's skip over everything you see on Facebook, because I'm going to assume you already know.

So here's some facts about me. Who I am as a person.

  1.  I cry about EVERYTHING. I'm not exaggerating. To give you an idea, here's some for-real stories about times I've cried:
    • I cried the first time I went to church after we moved. Not because I was touched by the messages, but because I went home feeling like no one liked me. No one introduced themselves, no one said hi. I made a comment in class that got a "hm." in response. I cried. I cried a lot and vowed to never return. (I was being a bit dramatic at that point. I've gone back to church. No worries.)
    • I cried at the pet store when we were about to leave without buying Brutus, my guinea pig. We bought him, and then, of course, I cried because he needed a brother, so we bought Phil too.
    • I cry when I don't get enough sleep. 
    • I cry when I don't eat.
    • I cried again about church because one sweet lady came up to me and talked to me, and remembered from my talk in sacrament several weeks prior that I had two guinea pigs. She asked how they were doing. 
    • I'm crying now. 
    • I cried about this video, when a bunch of Canadians started singing our national anthem when the microphone went out.
    • I cry at every Disney movie. Every single one. Except Frozen, which I hated. 
    • I cry about anything military related: sweet stories of soldiers surprising their families, soldiers dying, soldiers losing limbs. Those are all very emotional for me. I can't watch Wounded Warrior Project commercials. They put me in a funk for a few hours.
    • I cry every time I call my dad. Most of the time I can get it together enough to actually make the call. I just love my dad a lot. I love my mom too, but we talk way more often so it's a little easier to pull myself together. :)
    • I cried inconsolably for 2 days straight after my guinea pig Rocko died.  
    • You get the point. I cry about everything.
  2. I spend a lot of money. But what you don't see on my Facebook is the money I spend on others. Simply because I'm trying to do what Jesus has asked and be humble. You don't need to know what acts of service I have performed. Just know that I make a conscious effort to spend MORE time and MORE money on others than on myself. "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Phil. 2:3)
  3. My life isn't perfect. Neither is yours, I will assume. I've suffered with my fair share of sicknesses, afflictions, trials, and downright crap. Did you know I have PMDD? It's a hormonal disorder. I've had it since my freshman year of high school. It accounts for many of the other problems I've had. I won't get into it now, but it makes a HUGE impact on my life. 
  4. I'm naturally pretty shy. It takes a lot of internal effort for me to say hello to someone. I'm very much an introvert. I get overwhelmed in large groups of people for long periods of time. Sometimes the shyness does come off as stuck up or rude. I swear I'm trying. 
  5. I spend a majority of my time trying to make others happy. I'm a natural people pleaser. I love sending flowers and gifts and cards and whatever else I think might be a good idea. I'm always on the lookout for another person I can cheer up.
So, let's not miss the point. This isn't about me, and how I feel that everyone needs to get to know me better. 

My point is, I hate social media for the fact that I can't see these things about YOU. Many of you don't post about your struggles or trials. You don't want to be that person. I want you to tell me your struggles. I want you to be REAL. 

I hate social media for stirring up my feelings of anger or jealousy. Like, what the heck is that? Why in the world is my computer screen making me feel so negative?  

I hate social media for the way it can tear up families, relationships, and friendship.

I hate social media for the way I feel judged anytime I post anything. 

I hate social media for the way that I feel like I can't have an honest interaction. Everything I do is laced with "underlying meanings". "She liked this so it must mean that she supports the Affordable Health Care Act." "She commented 'You look beautiful,' but in high school I swear she started that rumor about me." "He didn't like my status, but I thought we were friends." "This picture only got 5 likes. Is there something on my face that I missed?"

Get real! I know I'm not the only one thinking these things, even subconsciously. My goal is to make my Instagram, & Pinterest about ME. It's FOR me. It's not for you. Sure, have fun following me. But these social media devices are for me to document MY life. I pin things on Pinterest I like. I post photos on Instagram that I like. And I am so grateful that I have a place where all of these little parts of my life are safe in one place. 

Facebook on the other hand, that's partially for you. The things that are for you are the things I've posted to uplift, inspire, motivate, whatever. You never know when your post can make a difference in someone else's life. I'm friends with this incredible fitness guru, who has inspired me to start working out again. The other day she said, "It's funny how our minds constantly make up excuses on why we CAN'T do something." You know what that post made me do? That post made me run two more miles than I wanted to. TWO MILES. That's an incredible feat for me. So the things I post, I'm hoping make a difference in one of your lives.

Stop deleting your selfies and post 'em! I love selfies!! I think people are so brave when they can say, "I look so good today that I'm going to post a picture for the world to see." Because you DO look that good. And let's be honest, I even post the ugly ones. 

My whole point is, LET'S BE REAL! If you like to work out, tell us about it. If you have a passion for singing, please, post a video of you singing your lungs out. If you like taking pictures, I don't care if you're not a photographer, post those pictures. Your social media accounts are YOURS.

I want to see more real people. That's my point. Social media degrades us into words and pictures, while we are so much more. We are incredible beings with incredible potential. Don't judge me by my Pinterest, Instagram, & Facebook, and you can bet I will return the favor. 

I love social media for the power it has to make a positive impact on the lives of others. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When God Says You're Done, You're Done.

This post is personal. It has a lot of personal experiences. One about my love life, one about my career(s)... I'll tell you that right off the bat, so you're not shocked later in your read. :)

I believe in God. I believe in prayer. I feel like I have a good relationship with God. I know that He knows who I am. I know that He knows me by name. He cares about how I feel.

I've learned a lot over my 21 years of life. One of those things being that you don't learn everything you need to learn at church. I know those teachers do their best, but there are just some things that cannot be taught. One of those things is receiving answers to prayers. Part of the reason this is so difficult is because each of us is different. We are more or less sensitive to what God is telling us. We may receive our answers in different ways.

In my church, we're always taught to ask God to help us with big decisions. He'll let us know which way is right, right? Part of the issue with this was that I didn't know how that answer would be formed. I couldn't tell you how many times I heard, "You'll have a very warm feeling if what you're asking for is correct." What the heck does that even mean?? A warm feeling? I'm always really cold. I hardly ever feel warm. My fingers and toes are freezing as we speak.

Let me tell you, I don't think I've ever had a "warm feeling" in answer to a prayer.

And we can't forget the infamous "Open your scriptures to a random page and your answer will be glaring at you."

Sure, it may have worked for others. It may have even worked for you. But for me, no.

I want to share with you a few personal experiences, like I stated before, that I took to God to receive an answer.

The first that stands out the most in my mind happened while my husband Chris was serving a mission in Italy. He'd been out for over a year, and the time was getting closer and closer to his arrival back home. Before he left, we'd decided that we would get married when he got back. We were absolutely sure that we were meant for each other. We were soul mates. In high school we were voted "Most likely to marry their high school sweetheart," and a bunch of 18-year-olds are totally a reasonable source of information. (Well, that was sarcastic, but Chris & I getting married is actually what happened. Hahahaha.) Anyway, we were in the single digits of months left until he arrived home. And I remember the day perfectly when I about had a panic attack while walking back to my apartment from campus. The realization that there were only 9 months left about killed me.

I was having a pretty tough semester. I started it with 21 credits, and ended up dropping one of my courses because I was too overwhelmed. For an annoying do-gooder perfectionist like myself, I about lost it. I couldn't drop a class! That's what quitters do!

I'm here to tell you that college is hard. Maybe not just the physical aspects, but the emotional and mental aspects as well! I was drained.

Anyway, the semester was off to a rough start. I remember being strung thin. I snapped at my roommate quite a few times. We cried together and laughed together. I cry a lot anyway, but this semester was a huge cry fest all the freakin' time.

Then one night I remember telling her that Chris was coming home in nine months. She was so excited. She always talked about how perfect we were for each other. (Mind you, she hadn't met Chris, but she liked him because I liked him. She was a good support system.) Then I told her that I was having second thoughts. I didn't know that this was the right thing. Well, she being the awesome person she was said something along the lines of, "You need to do what makes you happy." I wasn't sure what that was though. What was going to make me happy? Was Chris going to make me happy? What if he got home and he was "different" like everyone else said, or "didn't like me anymore because the mission changed him." (Special thanks to everyone that said that to me.) So I prayed.

I feel like sometimes I'm a bit needy and sometimes I beat around the bush. But I remember this prayer like it was yesterday. I said, "Heavenly Father. I have no idea what I'm doing anymore. I am so stressed out. I'm tired of school, and I'm tired of life. On top of all of that, I don't even know if the person that I've loved for the past 8 years of my life is even supposed to be my husband. Please tell me what to do."

So I waited for the "warm feeling." I got nothing but an impression that I needed to make a decision first. I'd always heard that one too. And this one is a good piece of advice that I will pass along because I do know that this helped me a great deal. Make your decision first. You've been given the agency to choose. God wants you to use it. I decided. I said, "Lord, I am going to date other people. Is this the right decision?" I got a "Sure, Haley! Sounds like a good idea to me."

I took that answer as, "Yes, date other people because Chris isn't the right one for you."

So date other people I did. For one whole week. I lasted a week and thought I might die. I was upset and angry. I was mad at myself, and I was mad at God. One kid thought it was a good idea to kiss me. So he did. (It was COMPLETELY unexpected. We'd known each other for a while but I thought I'd made it very clear that we were friends only.) And I was so angry. But I didn't want to hurt his feelings. Though at now at that moment I wish I would've slapped him across the face and stomped on his foot and then spit in his mouth. I was livid. To this day it's still a tender topic, and I don't ever bring it up, and I've suppressed the memory so well that it may as well have never happened. I was angry then, but I let it carry on because I didn't want to be mean. I didn't want to hurt his feelings. So I kept fighting through thinking, "I made the right decision to date other people. God told me I did, so I need to keep dating." I couldn't I just couldn't do it. I was depressed everyday. I was even MORE sad and MORE upset than I had been during that time period.

You can't date someone (or marry someone for that matter) because you "don't want to hurt their feelings." If it's not right, END IT. Get rid of them. Kick them to the curb. Ok... Sorry. You don't need to be mean, but you do need to move on. If it's not right, go. Leave. Get outta town.


I imagined God calmly sitting there listening to me scream and yell and throw my stuff around the room. Then I had this thought come to my mind, "Is this not what you wanted? Is this not what you asked for? You got your answer, did you not?"

He was right. He always is. I did have my answer. I KNEW without a second of doubt in my mind that Chris was mine. And I was his. We would get married. I was 100% positive.

During this whole experience (literally less than 2 weeks long. I figured things out very quickly), I was still writing Chris. He knew what was going on. He wasn't too pleased, and there was not much he could do from half-way around the world. But I believe he had faith in God. He knew God would tell me what I needed to hear. I apologized profusely. I felt like I ruined everything. But Chris, being the wonderful man he is, said, "I'm not bitter. I know you needed this experience, and I'm here to support you." It took a just a little while, but we were back to our normal selves pretty shortly after. Back to being Chris&Haley.

I'm a long story-teller. I've also learned that over the years. I never really realized until I started writing things down. Journaling, blogging, writing letters to Chris. They're all LONG. But, carrying on. If you've made it this far, I'll warn you that there's one more story. I'll try to make it shorter, but I can't make any promises.

My second experience was more recent. I've been doing traffic control for road construction every summer since I was 14 years old. My dad runs a business out of Idaho Falls and the company travels all over the state of Idaho. Yes, I'm the one that holds the stop sign.

This past summer (2014) Chris and I were doing road construction together in Bliss, Idaho. It was only an hour commute from Boise, so we were able to head home each night after work. As the summer went on, I felt more and more opposed to road work. I kept thinking, "Where am I going? Am I going to be doing this for the rest of my life?" I kept wanting to explore other options that had a little more potential. So I started praying about it.

Pause for another lesson I've learned about prayers. When I am praying about a decision, my answers usually occur in the amount of future potential I see in each choice. I'll explain in a minute.

As I was looking for something other than road work to do, I decided I wanted to try my hand at real estate. I had obtained my real estate license back when I had just turned 19. I took courses during my "off-trimester" of college, and licensed during that same time. I was hoping to use it to help out my mom and the team that she worked for in Idaho Falls. I didn't really do anything with it though, and continued to pursue my bachelor's degree.

So, back to 2014, with this licensure under my belt, I went job searching. I wanted to work on a team, mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I would fail if I tried by myself. I just wasn't aggressive enough. I submitted my résumé to two teams in the area. I heard back from one of them a couple days later, and I was invited to interview with her. I knew from the first interview that I wanted to work with her. She was fun and positive and a real go-getter. I knew she would be a great motivator. However, the interview process lasted about 4 weeks. There were many personality tests and other questions I had to answer. But, by the last interview, she offered me a spot on her team! I was so excited. She gave me a couple days to think it over and talk about it with Chris. I also talked it over with God.

With this experience, I felt positively about the job. I felt excited, and I saw so much future potential! I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. So I accepted.

Here's what I mean about the future potential being an answer to a prayer. In my first experience, I saw no future potential when I started trying to date other people. Everyone that asked me out, I kept thinking, "Oh, I can't wait to tell Chris about this. *eye roll*" Chris always crept back into my head. We were still writing each other and her knew what was going on. I saw dead ends with every single person that asked me out. I wanted to run and hide from them and never talk to them again. I wanted to crawl under a rock and die there. When I finally knew that I was supposed to be with Chris, it was like I saw the gates of heaven opening. *Cue singing angels.* No, really. I saw our entire future laid out before me. I saw how happy I would be. I saw such a positive outcome.

So maybe you're like me. Maybe you don't get a warm feeling, and you keep thinking, "Where in the world is this 'warm feeling' so I can know what to do?" Try making your decision first. See how you feel about it. Can you see the potential with one but not the other. I found that one decision made me squirm a little, and when I finally changed my mind I felt immediate relief.

With the second experience, the lesson I learned was a little different. I saw the potential with this career. I saw myself working for 4 or 5 years, then having a child, and maybe I'd continue, maybe I wouldn't. But the point being, I saw YEARS of the future laid out before me.

However, a couple months in, I started to get that little squirmy feeling. I'd shove it aside and say, "Uh uh. This is happening. I am doing this, and I am not going to give up. I've been here for only a couple months. Only a loser would quit now!"

Well, the job was 100% commission based, and I will be candid with you right now. In the 3-4 months that I worked there, I made $699.58. Split between, let's say 3, months, that's a little over $233 a month. That is not a lot. That was one commission check. I loved that job so much though. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving. I kept fighting the squirmies for about 2 months. Then one day, I prayed to God to give me the courage to keep going. To not quit. I wasn't a quitter. I wasn't a loser. I couldn't quit my job after only 4 months. I told everyone on Facebook about it. I kept posting about how much I loved it. It would be totally embarrassing to be "THAT person" that jumped from job to job. I tried my very hardest. But the way that this team was set up made it very, very difficult for me to earn an income. I received 25% of a 3% commission. So the check that I received for $699.58 was one commission check off of the sale of a home that was $145,000. This team just wasn't busy enough to keep me busy. To keep an income flowing. I knew that road construction for Chris was ending quickly, and soon we would be without any flowing income. I had to earn money, and I quickly saw the future potential for this job becoming more and more of a dead end.

Here is the lesson I learned from this. Well, a few lessons.

One, situations change.

Two, if the answer to a prayer is "Yes" it doesn't mean "Yes, this experience will turn out exactly how you imagine it to." This one has taken me a long time to learn. Just because it's the right decision, does not mean that it will continue to be the right one forever. God was telling me that I was done. I learned what I needed to learn. I didn't need to continue. I needed to move on and learn another thing. I cannot tell you how much I learned from those 4 months in real estate. I learned things that I will remember for the rest of my life. Things that will HELP me for the rest of my life. I learned so much more than market statistics and home features.

And the last thing I learned is to never judge a person. I've known this one for a long time. And it's one that I work very hard on. I would hope that no one thought, "Oh she quit her job. She can't make a decision. She has no idea what she's doing with her life. She's failing. She should just get a "normal" job. She needs to stop trying to sell things. Why hasn't she had any kids? Blah, blah, blah." You never know the whole story. You just don't. So I've learned that, because I'd love the courtesy and support from others in ANYTHING I do, I give that same courtesy and support TO others. I know how hard it is to be a person. Being a human is tough work. You've got to get up every single morning and DO stuff. Hard stuff. Stuff you want to do, and stuff you don't want to do. And on top of doing stuff, some of you may have trials and hardships that no one really understands. But, again, I know God is out there. I know he knows what will make you a better person. When he says you're done, you're done. You don't need to keep fighting for something that you need to move on from. Life is all about learning and growing, about becoming a stronger, kinder person. Pray. Pray often. Ask for help. Ask for support. Ask for guidance. Remember that answers come in many different ways. It's not always the warm feeling. And no one can really tell you how YOU receive answers. It's something you'll learn for yourself.

I hope that this was not just a huge ramble fest. I hope I was able to help even just one person. Thanks for making it this far...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bursts of Motivation

I've been feeling very motivated lately, and I wanted to find something where I could log my goals. I looked around Pinterest and on a few blogs for a "printable" that would fit my needs, but nothing seemed to stand out. There were some very cute ones that were just too much. I didn't want to log my daily exercise and every appointment I had that day. I do have other tools I use for those things so my search was for something very general. I couldn't find what I was looking for so I decided to try my hand at creating my own! I just wanted to share it, in case it fits someone else's needs as well!

I needed a sheet that I could simply write my daily goals and weekly goals for one week. I didn't want to have to write "Exercise for 30 minutes" 5 times in my weekly calendar. It seemed excessive. (But I still wanted it written down!) Nor did I want to write "Get the oil changed" on one particular day because I wanted to be a little more flexible with my schedule, but still find a time to accomplish the task.  They always say that when you write down your goals, you're more likely to accomplish them. So here it is! A weekly goal chart. I made one for myself, and one for my husband as well. :) I plan on putting mine in a frame and using a dry erase marker on the glass so I do not have to keep printing the sheets out, but feel free to share! Pin it to Pinterest, share it on Facebook, print a thousand copies for yourself and your friends. :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Please Be an Advocate for Children (I Beg You)

This post will be pretty long. I can feel it. Please bear with me though.

I was inspired to write this post because today my family was in town. I was with my husband Chris, as well as both of my parents, my sister, her husband, and her baby. My dad thought it would be fun to take baby to the zoo to see the animals there. We perused for a while going cage to cage, looking at everything (though I must say, baby was unimpressed and fell asleep about halfway into our expedition). Toward the end, we were standing near a Komodo Dragon, and a woman holding a young child (under two) was standing near us. The child looked at the reptile and screamed (half out of excitement and half out of fear is what it sounded like). The mother immediately turned to her child and yelled, "Stop it!" A few seconds later, the child screamed again. The mother then hit the child on the arm, and the child started to cry.

It hurt... both me and the child. I will explain.

I'm sure you've seen a situation like this before. Some parents believe that spanking is an effective form of discipline. I personally don't. Any way I look at it, you are hitting a child. Someone who is much smaller and weaker than you are. My parents spanked me as a child when I misbehaved. I rarely got spanked, because my parents taught me well beforehand. Spanking was a last resort. I do not believe that this mother was abusing her child, I just think that there are better, more effective ways to handle these situations. I've had many discussions with professors and classmates about appropriate discipline, and I just wanted to share some solutions that I have known to be effective in both solving the problem and teaching the child. I have a bachelor's degree in child development, so this information is credible, though it is partially mixed with my own beliefs.

1. Think about who you are disciplining for, you? Or your child?
If the spank is merely to keep your child quiet, it is inappropriate. The root word of discipline is disciple, which means to teach. Discipline should be to teach. The child should not fear discipline. You are their role model. They absolutely adore you. You feed them, clothe them, and give them shelter. You give them hugs when they fall down. You comfort them when they cry. If you are disciplining for your sake, you are doing something wrong.

2. Check your attitude.
Are you angry? Are you visibly upset? If this is the case, you may not be effective in your discipline efforts. You may behave in a way you will later regret. This is where spanking becomes an issue. If you spank while you are angry, you are much more likely to inflict a punishment that does not match the misbehavior. Spanking should only be done when you have your emotions under control. You should never spank your child when your emotions are running wild.

3. Do you have an audience?
Your child may just want attention. Find a private area where you can talk to your child. In the situation at the zoo today, if the mother had ignored the screaming the first time, the child probably wouldn't have screamed again. There are times where it is appropriate to ignore misbehavior.

4. Emotion Coach!!
I can't emphasize this enough. It is tried and true. Emotion coaching is a method created by John Gottman. You can find his book here. He writes many other books on marriage and relationships as well. If I can describe emotion coaching in one word, it's "validation." When your child is upset because his favorite toy is broken, put yourself in his shoes. How would you feel if your laptop suddenly broke in half? Tell your child you know how he feels. Tell him that you would be sad if your favorite toy broke too. Brian Regan has a great sketch here. (It's only 45 seconds, he's pretty funny). 

I could talk forever on emotion coaching, but another one I hear a lot is, "Just be happy." Tell me, if you are upset or angry and someone tells you to "just be happy," do you automatically perk up, smile at them and say, "Thank you! I was sad, but I am happy now." No. Chances are you want to hit the person sitting across from you with all of your strength. Your child feels the same way. So do not tell them to "just be happy" when they are upset. 

5. It's ok to take a minute to breathe.
One bit of advice I've heard from one of my professors is that it is okay to take a minute to breathe. If your child has been crying for ten minutes, and all of your efforts to console him or her have failed, you may find yourself quickly losing patience. It is okay to set your child in his or her crib for a moment and take a minute to breathe. Your child will be in a protected area where he or she cannot harm him or herself, and you can shut the door for, let's say, 5 minutes to take a quiet moment. Allow yourself to regain your patience. Say a prayer. Make a quick phone call to your partner or spouse. Lay down on your bed. Read a novel for five minutes. When you feel ready, you can return to your child and begin your efforts again. Chances are they are just tired, and they will probably fall asleep.

6. Children are concrete thinkers.
Piaget is one of my favorite child theorists. He has four stages:
• Sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational, and formal operational. The first three stages happen from ages zero to 11, then the last begins at age 12. The last stage is when they really begin to understand abstract thought. They understand it to a small extent before then, but not much. They do not understand "don't" or "stop", so by telling your child, "Don't run into the street, they are mostly hearing, "Run into the street." What is "do not"? How do you explain that? How do you explain zero? It's hard for even an adult. Turn your words into positive phrases. Instead of saying, "Do not run into the street," say, "Please stay on the sidewalk because playing in the street is dangerous." Instead of saying, "Do not hit your brother," say, "Please keep your hands to yourself." It's easier for your child to understand. It does take a lot of practice, especially in pressing moments, but once you get the hang of it, it comes naturally out of habit. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, "You don't have any children so you have no idea how to parent." I know that I don't have any children. That doesn't mean I'm incompetent in any way, shape, or form, just like popping a child out does not make you some sort of super parent. It is important to be as educated as possible about these things, so please do not disregard my words, simply because I do not have any children. Please join with me in being an advocate for children. It's possible that you may be the only hope for some children. Seeing you may be the best part of their day! Smile at children. Ask them how old they are. Ask them if they like their teacher. Ask them if they did anything fun today. Be their friend. Be kind.

I just wanted to close with a belief very close to my heart. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a member, I believe that each of us humans here on Earth have a very loving and merciful Heavenly Father. I believe that he watches over each of us. He knows each of our fears and our passions. He knows our names. I believe that we lived with Him before we were born here on Earth. I believe that we learned from Him and prepared ourselves to come to Earth. And not for one second do I think that our Heavenly Father hit us to teach us. I believe that He used His words to teach us, that He told us He loved us and asked us kindly to be better, to work harder. I believe that we felt sorrowful for disappointing Him and promised to be better the next day.

It's the same here on Earth. We are responsible for the little kiddos we have here. We can use our words to teach. We can tell our children that we love them and that we want them to be better tomorrow. And I can almost guarantee that they will feel sorrow, and promise you that they will try to be better tomorrow. Parents these days are either too quick to anger, or too busy to care. Please take time for your children. Take time to teach. Take time to tell them you love them. You made them, after all. (Or in the case of adoptive parents, you chose them.) Love each child. Protect them from harm. 

I understand that most of you try so hard to be parents. You feel you are doing your best, and I believe you. Parenting is hard. I've seen it in so many people. I've seen it in my sister, my friends, and of course, my own parents. It is not easy. But Heavenly Father has entrusted you for a reason. He knows you can do this. Thank you for making it this far in reading my post. Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear what all of you have to say. I appreciate those of you who have supported me in my beliefs and ideas. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Big Day! (And other stuff)

It's been almost a year since my last post, and my entire life has changed quite a bit since that day. For one. I'm married. That's different than last year. But we'll get to that in a bit. I just wanted to document all of the stuff that's been going on since that day and tell a little bit more of my story.

July 26, 2013

Chris came home after serving a full-time mission. As the story was told to me, he arrived home at the airport, left his bags with his mom and siblings, and his dad rushed him to the stake center to get released. There was a fireside starting at 7, so Chris wanted to make it there before that. He was released, and he drove to my parents house. He had spoken to my mom beforehand (and I knew because she had been acting funny the whole week) and had asked her to be upstairs taking pictures out her bedroom window. So the whole experience was documented. Anyway, Chris came honking up the road and I ran out to greet him. He gave me a bouquet the size of a small child that was absolutely beautiful. We talked for a bit, and he said he had a question for me. I tried not to get my hopes up (hoping that this would the THE question), after all, he had just gotten home. Literally an hour before this. But sure enough....

After two, very long, very difficult years without him, I was finally engaged to my best friend. The love of my life. My better half.

For those of you who have waited for your missionary and happily married him, you probably know what I'm talking about. You know that people are just mean. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "You won't marry him," and, "He will get back from his mission, and he won't want you anymore." (These are real things I heard. I promise people have actually said this to me.) Oh, and we can't forget about, "The mission changes you. He won't be the same person when he gets back." How dare anyone tell you what you should do with an eternal decision without you asking for advice in the first place. I never asked for anyone's opinion about the matter. Many statements were coming from people that I had known for 10 minutes. What an inappropriate thing to say. You're not being nice by "warning" them. I don't care if you knew your roommate's brother's wife's sister's niece who waited for their missionary and it didn't work out.


For those of you waiting for your missionary with complete loyalty, don't let these people crack your armor. If you have known them for a long time, they just become a better version of what they used to be. They don't really change at all. They just get better. I will admit that some days I would believe these people. A lot of these statements came from people that I believed were friends of mine. No friend of yours will ever discourage you from getting what you want. People are mean. Plain and simple. Not all of them. I certainly found a few angels along the way who helped support me in my decisions. Hahaha who gave me a roll of toilet paper, and set a trash can next to my bed when I was too sad to get up. (My roommate did this. She is a saint.) It makes me laugh now because I'm just so happy to be out of it. Anyway, wrapping up the rant. People are mean. Don't listen to them. Follow your heart. Trust the Lord. I promise He won't lead you astray. Simple as that.

Fast forward.

July 27, 2013-August 27, 2013

Wedding planning.

I absolutely loved our wedding. It was exactly what I hoped for. Here's a few deets and we'll get into the rest later. Our colors were shades of coral and tiffany blue. The theme was "shabby chic."


Each invitation was handmade. I sell them HERE. My mom, Chris, Chris's mom, myself, and a few others slaved away at these for a while. Since our wedding was planned for August 28, 2013, we had about 0 days to get these invitations out. So we worked as fast as we could. I wouldn't have changed anything about it though. The invitations ended up gorgeous. I couldn't love them more. Each one was different. I showed just a few examples above of the ones we had left over, but we had about 40 different covers to rotate through. The inner papers were also different in each one. We were trying to keep with the "shabby chic" theme, which is what inspired the different papers. All of the inserts were the same. Each invitation received 5 engagement photos, a formal announcement, directions to the venue, and a registry card. They all tied shut with a ribbon.

Wedding dress:

I got my dress from The Perfect Dress in Utah. This shop was fantastic, but their alterations lady was absolutely unreal. She was incredible. My dress was originally strapless. And to this day I still cannot tell you how she built up sleeves without a trace of the previous neckline. I took a few mediocre pictures just because. Later I'll have pictures of me actually in the dress.

It was actually really fun buying a strapless dress and altering it because I basically got to customize the top of it. I chose a sweetheart neckline underneath the lace boatneck. And I wanted half-sleeves, not cap sleeves. So that part was all really fun.

August 28, 2013

Yay for the big day! :D

Hahaha getting ready in the backseat of my mom's car. 



Look how handsome my husband is! I'm married to that guy. Forever. :) 

August 31, 2013

Having a reception a few days after the actual wedding was the best idea ever. (Credit to Chris.) There's no way we could've done both in the same day. For those of you that have, you must be superhuman. Props to you. Seriously. Anyway, the reception was held at my parent's house as a half-inside, half-outside ordeal. My mom made an insane amount of delicious food. The decor was lovely. Everything was just as I'd hoped. 

One part I wanted to highlight in particular is my beautiful sign-in book. My sister Amber makes these, and she actually sells them, so you could have one at your wedding too! I'll attach a link to her shop at the bottom of this page. And trust me, you will want one. I actually look at this sign-in book quite often. I love it because honestly, I would probably hardly ever look at a book with just signatures in them. They are nice, and they do the job, they just aren't my style. This book actually has all of our engagement pictures in it, and plenty of room for people to write a little message. The guests were able to look through it as they walked in, and see all of the photos. (Amber also makes adorable baby books if you're at that step in your life!) Obviously, I don't have a picture of every page, but you get the point. One other thing that made this book special is that Chris actually made the paper on the front cover. He was able to do that on his mission. It was just another sentimental touch. 

Seriously how beautiful are these details? Amber did amazing. 

I thought this bookmark was adorable. 
Another detail I can't forget were the large letters that were placed in the sign-in armoire with the book. My other sister, Holly made these and I know they were quite labor intensive, so I'm eternally grateful. They ended up looking fantastic! Holly and Amber are both very crafty. Holly also has a shop where she makes all sorts of cute things so I'll link her as well!

I can't thank everyone who helped out with our wedding enough. It was truly the best day of my life. We've been very happily married for almost 6 months now. (Why couldn't time move this fast while he was gone? I will never know.) I love Chris more each and every day. I'm so proud of everything he does. Stay tuned for more blog posts of our married life! Thanks for reading!

Amber's Shop: PaperLuxuries
Holly's Shop: Craftmania

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Best Healthy Cookie Pie You'll Ever Eat.

Dear bloggers...

I've fallen in love with a cookie. It's delicious. It came from this link: Deep-Dish Cookie Pie.
However, I've made several modifications to make it sugar-free and full of fiber. Here is the recipe as I have modified it.

  • 2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 cup wheat bran (can be found at health food stores)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ~ 1 cup sweetener
  • 1-3 oz. package of hershey's sugar free chocolates (chopped, dark or milk works)
  • ~1/2 cup water
I understand some of these items may be a little foreign, as they were to me before my dad introduced them to me. You can do your own research about each of them, but here is what I understand about some of them:

Wheat bran is basically pure fiber. I use it to add structure to the cookie pie as the original recipe used oats. The reason I replaced the oats is because they are high on the glycemic load, which I'm trying to keep down. To be honest, it looks a little like Rocko's cage bedding. But it's edible. 

I replaced the applesauce with chia seeds because chia seeds are a super food, full of vitamins and more fiber. Once they are hydrated they also serve as a wet ingredient. 

I use Truvia for the sweetener to make it sugar-free. I have used the splenda/brown sugar blend, but this is not calorie free. Either way works so I'd rather not fill up on the calories. 

You can use Hersey's sugar-free dark chocolates like I do, or if you can find sugar free chocolate chips, more power to you. 

All right folks. Here's how it works.
  • Place all the ingredients (except water and chocolates) into a food processor. (I use the Ninja and it works like a charm.)  
  • After several good pulses, I like to pour the pulsed ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix them up. 
  • Then place them back in the processor so that everything is evenly processed. I add the water as needed to liquify the ingredients a little more. You may use less than 1/2 cup, 1/2 cup exactly, or more. Just enough so that the "dough" is thick but wet looking. 
  • Pour your thoroughly processed "dough" back into the mixing bowl and throw in your chopped chocolates or your chocolate chips. 
  • Grease a round cake pan (I think mine was 8") 
  • Pour your ingredients into the pan and smooth out the top. Throw that in your oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 
  • Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Then tip it onto a plate. Cut into 8 pie slices. 
According to my own calculations followed exactly as I made the recipe:

Please enjoy. These are delicious both warm and room temp. And delicious the second day as well. Just store properly. :) Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a dietician, nutritionist, doctor, nurse, or any food professional of any sort. Everything above is based off of my own opinions and my own daily diet. Consult your own doctor or dietician if you have any questions or concerns. Obviously "healthy" is really determined by your own needs. This pie is simply healthier than a traditional cookie pie made with foods full of sugars and starches. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Glycemic Load Diet

I just have to tell everyone about this book I read.

Click here to see this book on Amazon.
I loved it!  This book just plain makes sense. It is written by Dr. Rob Thompson. Lately I feel like I've been gaining weight even though I've cut calories, been exercising, etc., so naturally I was feeling a little frustrated. My dad ordered this book a week ago and him and my mom have been following it ever since. They suggested that I read it as well. Basically, this "diet" (if you can even call it that) eliminates all starches, processed flours, sugars, etc. It focuses on eating carbohydrates in good forms (fruits and vegetables). He explains that our ancestors rarely had any starches. They had meat from hunting and fruits and vegetables from gathering. Starches were not a part of their diets. Over time, starches became very inexpensive fillers, so more and more food companies started putting them into their foods to save money. However, our bodies were not accustomed to handling this much starch, causing a "glycemic shock". This causes our bodies to secrete enormous amounts of insulin, causing us to gain weight.

In this book, Dr. Thompson also explains that approximately 40% of people are insulin resistant. Not necessarily diabetic, just more sensitive to starches causing these huge amounts of insulin to be secreted. He says if you are overweight, you are likely to be insulin resistant, and most people don't even know it. By eliminating starch, you no longer have cravings. Basically, to follow this book, you try to eat meals that have a glycemic load of under 100 (a potato has over 200, just to give you an idea of how much starches affect your body), and you try to keep your daily glycemic load under 500. This keeps your blood glucose level out of the "shock" range and your insulin is secreted at a normal rate.

A 1-1/2 oz slice of whole wheat bread has a glycemic load of 170, while 2 slices of 1" squares of semi-sweet chocolate has a glycemic load of 25. Pretty crazy, eh? So this diet allows you to eat chocolate! (

I've been following this book for 4 days now. I feel so much better. (You've probably noticed my 87 billion cauliflower Pins on Pinterest. Who knew you could disguise cauliflower in so many ways?! My dad makes awesome fried cauliflower "rice".) Anyway, that is my vague summary. I suggest you read it whether you're fit, overweight, or somewhere in the middle like me. :) Even if you just have an interest in health and nutrition. It was a really good read. It only takes about 2 hours total to read. It includes a huge list of the "glycemic loads" of several foods, and several recipes. I have just felt so enlightened. Hahaha.

Read this book.

I'll keep you updated on how I've been feeling in the next couple weeks.