when you're really actually pretty sure you're not good at anything....

Thursday, December 14, 2017

that smooth musky smell

rich creamy oil paints

clinking brushes in the glass

easy listening music rolling in the background

and that bleached white canvas


every painter knows the scenario....and it's been one of my own again and again.
I can get caught up...hours on end....time trickling happily away
while I simply sit there and let the brush brisk me away into dreamed-of natures.



and yet until today

deep down


I've always been self conscious about my painting abilities.
I'd sheepishly deflect comments, compliments, or anything remotely similar.

"they're just saying that"
"ok, but no one actually says what they really think"
"they're just being nice"
"that's a huge exaggeration"

>> all real thoughts, people <<

painting was still my happy place.
the oils were always bright, no matter my stress level.
the canvas was still full of endless possibilities even if my life wasn't.
and I could make sunshine even when it was gray outside.

but the moment I displayed it before others...every eensy weensy tiny "flaw" seemed to grow tentacles before my eyes.  I'd pick it apart, point them out as to downplay the painting's worth, and for whatever heck of a reason, try and convince other viewers that I wasn't a "real" artist. 


/////  rewind four months \\\\\

...sitting in class....
....religion class.....
and we're told we need to complete a 14 hr project by the end of the semester...
one that will deepen our understanding of the Restoration and of the Savior

"it should be something unique...something personal...that incorporates your talents"
the professor said. 


"guess i'm ok at painting"
((real thoughts))
"hello fourteen hours"

and so i started.
i'm strictly a nature painter so i jumped on painting my favorite church history site:

the peaceful breathtaking temple grounds where one day the Lord will establish Zion.

my hands were surprisingly clumsy, picking up the brushes again after seven. years.
but once I re-figured out what I was doing, the technique flowed naturally and I was caught up in the beautiful calm of capturing nature at its finest. 

There's something inexpressibly peaceful about painting nature, so untouched and silently blissful. 

depicting nature has always made me feel like I'm taking lessons from it's Maker. 
together we're learning from Him, amazed by His perfect hand.
Beside me, it seems, He and I share those moments of stepping back and smiling at the raw beauty of it all. 

Painting is my time with Him. 


So it finally came time to display our projects before the whole class....did I

>> for reals <<

...last minute....I almost threw the painting back in the trunk and drove away....embarrassed by what the entire class of nearly 6oo students would think of my out-of-practice efforts. 

*bite the bullet*


*bite the bullet* there it went....

on that table for everyone to see...
and i quickly walked away before wandering students came by to look.

it wasn't until I'd meandered around and away from my painting long enough to finally get paranoid about it (the paint was still wet and I figured getting green fingers would be the last distasteful impression some curious student could get), that i headed back to my display to keep an eye on it from a distance, and warn any unsuspecting hands to verge away. 

thanks HEAVENS i did

Standing there....deliberately standing far enough away so as to avoid association...i began overhearing students' remarks on my work. 

"This one is by far my favorite!"
"Look at that! Some people are so talented!"
"Whoooaaa! Can you believe this!"
"That's incredible!"
"This is SO beautiful! It's perfect!"
"You can see exactly what they were trying to portray!"
"I've never seen anything so breathtaking!"

again and again I saw students pull out their phones, taking photos and selfies, and captioning away.
one girl cried as she stood there looking at it. 

and I was beyond shocked. 

For the first time in my life, i actually started to believe that maybe.....just maybe....there was something in that mix of color and shape that someone found beautiful...even touching. 

Maybe....just maybe....i did have some talent. 

As I left that day, one girl stopped me and asked if she could take one more photo to add to her social media story, and then remarked, "I just think this is are so talented." 

I carried that painting home, every step bringing me to this realization:

the world will tell you someone else is better than you..
the world will tell you you're not good at anything. 
the world will tell you to give it up...
to downplay, dismiss, and discredit whatever talent you think you have. 
the world will tell you you're not good at anything. 
...that you're not capable enough, not gifted enough, not good enough, not smart enough....
and on and on and on. 




who cares what the world thinks? 
YOU are talented.
 and hiding what you think no one else will find meaningful is

I'm convinced.....CONVINCED....that every person on this beautiful earth has infinite potential and immeasurable talent. 

I couldn't help but think, walking away from this experience today....
how many paintings I could have created....
how many people I could have blessed....
and how much joy I could have experienced.....

if only I had made this realization sooner.

Don't listen to what the world tells you.

....Michael Angelo wasn't the only painter to impress... 
....Bach (bless his technique-crazed heart) wasn't the only musician to inspire....
....and Mother Theresa wasn't the only person to bless.... 

Every person and every ability has a place in this world.
Don't waste away your talents hiding them under the rock of self-doubt.

What good can possibly come of that?

relish in your hobbies
joy in your accomplishments
share your gifts

.....don't wait seven years to one day wake up and realize that you...yes YOU....have inspiring potential...

The finished product <3

Charity and Chick-fil-A

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

once again it's taken me a while to get this one down. 
but unlike SO many posts in the past...
this one's because I'm downright


but when i learn lessons, for whatever reason
i have this deep-down feeling of obligation to clack away at the keyboard and let the world know.
don't ask me why;)

and this isn't one of those "i learned something so sweet and warm-fuzzy"
it's more like i got slapped upside the head...
and learned my lesson the hard way kind of thing

>> here goes <<

I've been trying REAL hard to not question why almost every driver in Utah County either doesn't know what a signal is, can't read road signs, or navigates through lanes slower than January. 

"in- in- in- inner peace"

I specifically made it my goal one week to cool the jets while driving and practice some good-ol' home-grown 

chad and I were out (not two days after my "new driver self" had been launched) and decided to grab Chick-Fil-A for lunch. 

(dang i want chick-fil-a yet AGAIN. Happy thoughts....) we're driving into the drive-through and lo and behold there's a car straddling both lanes, almost as if it's not sure if it wants to go in. 

drop all and drive

I verbally expressed confused frustration to Chad, just as the car realized I was coming around behind them and made some weird maneuver into my lane, slammed on the brakes, swerved back out, then off into the other lane. 
I was easily irritated at this point, since we'd almost hit them.   
As we passed the car in the lane, I thought I caught a stern glare from the woman in the car and immediately I hopped skipped and jumped right into the "i'm SO not in the wrong here" mood. 

It was still bothering me while we ordered and the other car sped ahead of us to pick up their food. 

I'd reached the "keep it to my self" stage by the time we got to the window, even though there was an ounce of miff in me as the other driver drove off and we pulled up the window. 

The waitress clarified our order.
I handed my card out the window. 
Then she stopped me,
"Your meal is free today....
the driver in front of you payed for your meal."


geez laweez that hurt

I don't know that I've ever been more mad at myself for being so quick to judge.
>>> lamest human being moment <<<

and it was SO. real.

I considered myself slapped upside the head and that lesson sunk deeper than any other "object lesson" I've ever been given. 

(the Lord knows me all too well;)

I learned that day that you NEVER know what other people are thinking,
why the act the way they do,
what their needs are,
of even what they're thinking about you.

Give people the benefit of the doubt.

is the pure love of 

shouldn't we all try a little harder to just smile and forgive?

I learned it's worth it to always try

.....cause really..... never know who'll end up paying for your meal.... 

the sappy WEDDING DAY post

Thursday, October 5, 2017

it's taken me a full TWO months to know how to post about my own

like, getting married is the biggest day of your life, correct?
and i can't even start figuring out how to put it all to paper html. 


People told me before our big day that it flies by in a blur...and it did. 
but it was magical....crazy magical.

it's the weirdest feeling waking up the morning of your wedding...lemme tell you. 
it's like this numb happy excited butterfly feeling with a smidge of overwhelm and shakiness:)
By the time my hair and makeup was done and Chad showed up in his suit, i was beyond ready just to fly off to the temple, skip all the photo-taking, pomp, circumstance,  and yea...even the reception, and just be off to basking in the "we're finally married" bliss. 

and's only 10am

the struggle was so real;)

we spent the morning studying scriptures together and force feeding ourselves breakfast between the nerves setting in....idk that cheerios will ever taste the same again;)

But by the time we got to the temple, sat down with our sealer, Chad's grandpa, and heard him express the happiness and eternal companionship that was about to be ours....i was anything BUT nervous. the entire sealing, surrounded by EIGHTY friends and family (yea, we picked the right temple for that;) seemed like forty minutes of heaven. that sounded really cheesy....but it did. 

Time didn't even seem to exists. And by the time we knelt across that alter and committed to each other, not till death do we part, but for eternity.....tears of joy have never felt so real. 
I can't even describe how it felt to have Chad, this man that I have come to love more than anyone or anything in this entire world, commit to hold and cherish me for eternity. ETERNITY. 

we NEVER have to be separated. This incredible man who brings me closer to my Savior than anyone else in my life, agreed to help me all the way back to heaven. there is NO ONE I'd rather be next to for eternity than him, and in a few short moments, the Lord granted us that promise. 

[happy shivers] 

It's cliche....but i have NEVER....EVER been happier in my entire life. 

never had more giddy jitters in MY LIFE

this is easily one of my FAVORITE pictures from the entire day!

the whole gang!!

what a bangin group

sisters are my favorite


my good lookin in-laws:)


Maybe it's that crazy happy high that makes the rest of the day fly by in a blur.

Photos....LOTS of photos.
Luncheon with family....priceless.
a quick run to the store for late night snacks...also priceless;)
and then the reception at Nielson's Grove.

my legit fam bam did the PERFECT job of set up for the reception.
It was SPARKLING by the time Chad and I showed up. 
6 months of mental planning, envisioning, work, sweat, and tears....and it looked EXACTLY how I'd always wanted my reception to look. 

pics to prove:

even got to sneak in some niece time before the reception started (!)

so blessed to have these girls in my life!

after the guest line died off (we survived thanks to my father-in-law sneaking us cake;), we did the traditional cake cut, bouquet toss, and my favorite....parent and then couple dance!

my cute sister-in-law:)

no words<3

I really did feel in that moment that the world could end and I couldn't care less.
We were finally married and dancing our first of many dances together.

We danced to Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" which perfectly sums up our story.
I can't wait to be in Chad's arms for the rest of eternity.

Our send-off was purely MAGICAL.
Don't care.

it was beautiful!!

and...of in-laws did an awesome job of the car:)

Everything really did turn out SO perfectly!
I couldn't have imagined a more beautiful day.

I didn't even know it was possible to be this incredibly happy!
And Chad has made me as happy as that day every day since.

Some people told me being married is an adjustment.

If by that they mean "adjusting" to
being with your best friend every day,
laughing together,
working together,
dreaming together,
snuggling on the weekends together,
cooking together,
traveling together,
playing together,
happy crying together,
loving every minute together...

or being so blissfully happy together...


and it's the best "adjustment" I've EVER made;)

Some days I still can't believe this is real life.

 it's heavenly

Belonding to such an incredible man who treats me like his queen
is a dream come I plan on never waking up from.

the wedding video!!!!
(which i can't stop watching (and crying happy tears to))

missing someone you've never met

Sunday, July 23, 2017

is it possible?

is it possible to miss someone you've never met?

maybe an unborn child? a deceased loved one? a future spouse?

idk....thoughts i have while lying in bed thirty minutes before my alarm goes off at 6am

I do, though...think it's absolutely possible to miss someone we've never met.
Maybe it's that our hearts or spirits that know things our heads don't.'s illogical...
but you turn down the radio when your GPS says you're close to arriving somewhere you've never been before

....don't chya...?


first hand...i've felt that feeling of missing someone...
though i guess I can't say it's technically someone I've never met....
I'll explain.

it's happened to me a couple times
and each time it gets deeper and yea.....sweeter.

the other day....7AM....warm toast in hand....I was going through the daily routine of scripture study.
and it hit me again.

I miss Him

yea...i could say i miss my Savior every day...but every now and then I realize just how real and deep that longing is.  My head would argue that I've never "met" Him...not in my lifetime...not really.
But my spirit counters.

When I have those moments....that craving for a tangible companionship I know I once had.....a companionship that this life would deem unrealistic...becomes incredibly real.

I know Him

I don't know what He looks like. I don't know what His laugh sounds like. I don't know what color His eyes are, how tall He is, or what it feels like to be held in His embrace.

but somehow...somehow...i know Him better than anyone else i've ever met. 
maybe that's because I know He loves me better than anyone else in this life could.

my spirit and my heart know what my mind does not.

I miss Him

a lot

and even though I'll go through my entire life, presumably never seeing or "meeting" my Savior with my physical senses....there's not a doubt in my mind that He and I still know each other at a depth no other relationship will ever match.

my heart knows I know Him
that's what makes that longing so real...SO real

and that day that I'm reunited with my best friend....

>> that's going to be the best day of my life <<

Wedding Timeline for LDS Couples

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

this is another one of those "not-my-usual" posts


don't be too excited;) 

this one's hitting the blog now, because I'm in the middle of ready-to-pull-my-hair-out-but-can't-since-I-need-to-look-good-on-my-big-day wedding planning mode. 

geez laweez

i had NO idea what it took to pull off a reception...when you're both from opposite sides of the country....this one is going in my life accomplishments book (...that SO doesn't actually exist;). 

when chad and i first got engaged, I scoured pinterest for hours looking for wedding planning timelines, checklists, etc. to try and bring a smidge of sanity to my "i have no idea what i'm doing" approach to reception planning.

while a lot of them were good, they were SO not created with the LDS bride in mind...

>> apparently things are a little different when you're not spending the US average of $35K on your wedding.....and serving alcohol all night.....that too <<

you think i'm kidding

so when my oh-so-amazing sister-in-law told me she had a timeline specifically for the LDS bride...

make me a happy camper

best. day. ever. 

basically.....this isn't my brain child (wish i could claim it though...based on how DOPE it is). I came up with a few of my own add-ins and line items, but all props go to my s-i-l Rachel...cause this gem is beyond awesome for any LDS girl like me trying to swing a wedding reception and stay sane<3

note: as i'm getting closer and closer to my wedding date, I'm realizing that some of these line items are broken down into time frames that may not be perfectly accurate for every couple.'s SUCH a good guide to go by....really.

just don't get all frazzled and frizzed if you aren't able to keep up with it exactly
it's just a guideline girls;)

ok so leave your thoughts, comments, suggestions, concerns, and occasional bad dad jokes in the comments below!

keep calm and plan onnnnn.....

Timeline for LDS Wedding Planning:
4+ Months Ahead
Set wedding date and time
Tell relatives
Contact sealer (if family or close friend is desired) to request permission to seal
Schedule sealing with temple
Make master plan/google docs/brainstorm lists for each area of planning (playlist ideas, to do list, addresses, venues, décor, guest lists, etc.)
Set a budget
Make invite list for temple
Choose color scheme
Select members of wedding party
Get engagement ring
Choose photographer!
Take marriage prep class in ward
Tell bishop and meet with him
Find a dress, schedule fitting and alterations
Book reception venue
Figure out wedding luncheon location-make invite list for it
Get a premarital exam
3 Months Ahead
Take engagement photos
Choose apparel for bridesmaids & groomsmen
Gather guest lists & addresses
Schedule living ordinance recommend interview with bishop & stake president
Ask 2 witnesses to be sealing witnesses
Set up gift registries
Order invitations
Order wedding cake
Choose food for reception (and wedding luncheon)
Meet with florist/choose décor & flowers
Make honeymoon plans/reservations
Get groom's ring
Schedule videographer if wanted
Choose flower girl dresses if wanted
Choose bridesmaids and groomsment and notify
Schedule open houses (if from out-of-state)
Select groom's suit/apparel
2 Months Ahead
Start addressing invitations (send 6 weeks before wedding)
Schedule Bridal Shower/Bachelor/Bachelorett parties
Choose reception music
Make open house(s) guest list
Outifts for leaving reception/favors for leaving reception like bubbles or sparklers if wanted
Pictures & music for slideshow
Bride's shoes, jewelry, veil/hairpiece
Bridals photo shoot
Find married housing
Hair & make-up appointments/practice sessions
Bridesmaid's gifts, groomsmen's gifts if wanted
Finalize food plans
Groom get a good haircut
Outifts for leaving reception/favors for leaving reception like bubbles or sparklers if wanted
Mother-of-the-bride/groom attire
Send something to those on missions if wanted
(Bridal showers and thank you cards)
1 Month Ahead
Get guest signing book
Print reception display photos
Order Thank You cards
Get marriage license
If desired or counseled to do so, read recommended book on marriage relationships and intimacy (Between Husband and Wife, They Were Not Ashamed, etc.)
Get wedding dress cleaned
Last minute reception décor
2 Weeks Ahead/1 Week Ahead
Follow-up on reservations: venues, florist, photographer, cake, videographer, caterer, honeymoon
Meet with photographer/send list of pictures wanted at temple
Groom haircut/trim
Wash and iron/dry clean temple clothes
Pack for honeymoon (start)
Pack for temple
Move into new apartment
Change utilities out of name at old apartments/post office forwarding address for mail
Assign day-of responsibilities to bridesmaids/groomsmen (makeup touchup, train, etc.)
Wedding Day
Read scriptures
Hair & make-up appointment
Be at temple early with recommends, marriage license, rings, dress, touch up items, shoes, jewelry
Escorts at temple early as well
Nap (if possible) before reception
Have a great time!
After the Wedding Day
Change name on driver's license, Social Security card, insurance
Change health insurance if needed
Change addresses with banks, etc.
Open combined bank account
Write thank you cards

to the girl who's never kissed a guy

Monday, June 26, 2017

[preface: like all my posts, this is a personal opinion throw-out that's based on my own experiences. 
it's not me preaching that everyone should do it my way....
...but maybe it's something to at least think about...]

bringing down walls




here we go

i still vividly remember sitting in that hot car, hurt tears streaming down my face, at a church picnic. i'd never felt more bullied in my life. 
it wasn't over looks
it wasn't over popularity
it wasn't over 
or smarts.


of all things, it was over


yea i didn't see that one coming either.
in fact, sitting in that car, i still wasn't sure why it had turned into bullying.
i can still remember, though, what it felt like to be surrounded by a group of teenage peers under that draping willow tree, and telling them

i was determined to save my first kiss for the man i knew i'd marry 


because to me, a kiss was reflective of  sincere and honest love.
not the kind that wakes up the next morning with regret
or the one that looks back with "well that was dumb"
or the one that only lasts only as long as the casual, socially-flippant"i love you" 
but which holds no true meaning--no perpetual deepening or persistent devotion. 

somehow, it meant more to me than that. 

and yet

the backlash was as unexpected as it was harsh

"that's stupid"
"you're out of your mind if you think you can wait that long"
"you really think you'll ever find a guy who's never kissed another girl? get real"
"you think that's what you want now, but just wait"
"its just for fun, and doesn't have to mean anything"
"get over it"

maybe they were right

but after a good half hour of mocking, i made for the car and sat there, crying, and angry that these so-called friends would tear at such real hope of mine.
the hope that someday, when i chose to give that away, that it would mean everything i wanted it to mean.

that was...idk...probably close to 10 years ago.
years of dating in college never took that desire away from me.

i can still remember the first time i shut a guy down when he tried to go for it...and go figure....i walked away without an ounce of regret. 
that pattern went on and on. 
by the end of my sophomore year, the explanatory doorstep script was so rote 
i could have recited it in my sleep. 

"sorry, but i decided a long time ago, that I want my first kiss to be for the man i decide to marry"

beyond that, though....(more than i could explain to the guy standing on my doormat totally confused as to why i could possibly not want to kiss him at the end of the third....second....(for crying out loud, boys) FIRST date)....was the deeper desire to have my kiss truly mean 

i love you

NOT "i like you" or "it'll be fun" or "let's go for it" or "because he's cute" or "it's just a kiss" or for any other reason.
i wanted it to truly mean "i love you" the deepest and most sincere way I could possibly express.

when i first met Chad i didnt't think he was my type. 
in fact, a group of us went hot tubbing one night and in a game of two truths and a lie, 
I tossed "i've never kissed a guy" out there.....(stumps em every time;)
knowing from multiple people in the ward that "every girl was after Chad" i expected him to be the type who--with his good looks and attracting personality--had "been around the block" so to speak. 
My "truth" sparked conversation about kissing and between the chatter and laughs, I casually commented, "Chad, I'll bet you've got some good stories."

he went silent and i concluded that my assumptions were right


i've never been more happy to be wrong in my entire life


two months later, the day after chad and i officially started dating, i brought up, again, that i'd been saving my first kiss for the man i could honestly say i truly loved
completely unexpectedly, chad turned to me and in a moment i wish i could re-live over and over again, he told me he was waiting to give his first kiss for the same reason. 

every once of doubt those "friends" had planted in me all those years ago, disappeared in that one moment when I realized that
  I'd found a man who priced his kiss just as high and just as valuable as I did mine.

 our first kiss a few days later came, because i KNEW what it meant for me....and i KNEW what it meant for him. 
it was one and the same.
it was the most precious exchange i've ever experienced. 

i wasn't short-changing him.
and he wasn't short-changing me.

it was as
as it was

and it was everything I'd ever hoped it would be.
Was it because it was perfect? breathtakingly romantic? executed flawlessly? 

heck no

It was a moment i will never forget because the meaning behind it was all that i'd ever wanted it to be. And i've never felt more confident peace knowing that i HAD found a man who was willing and respectful enough to save all that he could....

>>> for me <<<

there was NO feeling like it, knowing that the price I  had attached to my first kiss was my own. I alone got to decide what that was. 
it was high, yes.
and that's exactly how i wanted it. 
in return, i knew that receiving Chad's first kiss was the same priceless gift--one that was whole, untainted, and as equally valuable as what i gave him in return. 


i have to stop here

i am well aware of the fact that to some, a kiss does not reflect the same meaning as it did for chad and I....or that other circumstances still reflect honesty in kissing, despite if they end in marriage.

 i get that. 
trust me.

>>> is it that big of a deal to not save a first kiss? <<<

no....i'll agree completely with that statement.
it really isn't THAT big of a deal to not have your first kiss be the man you love or marry. 


i can tell you first-hand

that getting to the point where i could give my first kiss to chad

a big deal
.....'s not a huge deal to not wait. but if you do....oh gosh....i can't even express what that meant for me then, and what it continues to mean for BOTH of us now. 
it really is a reflection, for Chad and I, of where we are committed and why.

 shutting down guys time and time again--the whole awkward doorstep scenes, uncomfortable explanations, slipping out of too-close hugs, and dodging behind the door before saying goodnight....

  was beyond worth it

taking the mocking (however light-heartedly) from friends, roommates, etc. and laughing off the slightly-cynical teasing

was beyond worth it. 


so why this post now?

because in talking to friends and other girls over all those years before I'd given my first kiss away, I'd hear them moan over the ridicule they'd also faced from people who should have supported them.
they'd doubt their decision or their desires.
they'd really only confide hesitantly, almost embarrassed, by the fact that they'd never kissed a guy. 

why i'm writing this now

so that every girl who's ever wanted her first kiss to be more than a casual, off-handed, flirty, expectation-based, pressured, capricious token you toss to whoever asks for it...
can know that it is SO worth it to wait. 

like...i can't even describe how beautiful and priceless that sacrifice will mean to me for the rest of my life

and know also....that there ARE guys out there who are waiting...who value that still...who will hold out for you...and who are pricing their kiss FAR above what anyone else will tell them it's worth. 

don't get to that point with them, only to realize that you can't give them a gift as equally precious as what they are giving you. 

guys like that DO exist, despite what anyone may say.

chad is the best thing that ever happened to me

it wouldn't have made THAT big of a difference if he or I hadn't saved our first--and only--kisses for each other. 
BUT...because we is a priceless gift that the two of us--just the two of us together--get to share. 

...and I wouldn't trade that for the world....

so save it. 
YOU attach that pricetag.
and don't compromise.
trust that there is someone out there for you who feels the same.
don't divvy out what it's worth.
keep it complete and whole.

so that can know when you give that to the person you realize you want to love and serve and sacrifice for for the rest of eternity....

it can be worth its full value.

.....and in case i haven't said it enough..... me....

 it is 
worth it

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