Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'll start by saying...

Thank you Dad for being such an example day in and out of selfless and Christ like love. Thanks for helping me move over the holiday when you could have been working on your own stuff or actually relaxing.

Thank you Mom for being the one that listens to the boy drama, the work drama, the mouse-in-my-apartment drama, and everything else we talk about for hours and hours. Thank you for cooking a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving feast this week all by yourself so I could move.

Thank you Polly for helping me paint my new apartment and letting me come play with you, Ry Ry, and Emma this morning. I just love you guys so much!

Thank you Lisa for the most beautiful email. I miss you and your little red couch and the way we solved all the world's problems together.

Thank you Jeromy and Camie for allowing me to be a part of your life. It is an incredible experience to watch your little family grow up.

Thank you Breanna for teaching me so many things about the atonement and about love. You get more beautiful every day.

Thank you Jen for being my wing-woman. You are SO amazing, and I'm so happy I got to see you this fall. Now hopefully I'll see you in December too!

Thank you Lil Richard for kindly eating all the poison I left in my storage room for you. It wasn't fun to clean you up off the floor, but I'm braver thanks to you, and you are also no longer terrorizing my apartment.

Thank you "blizzard of the century" for only being a wimpy excuse of a snowstorm so you didn't totally ruin my moving plans this weekend, only made them slightly more messy.

Thank you brothers for helping me move, even if you're doing it out of your sense of duty.

Thank you home teachers, friends, and everyone planning on helping me move tomorrow. You may hate me after you move my couch, but I definitely appreciate you since my couch would be staying behind without you.

Thank you Sorenson for giving me Thanksgiving and Black Friday off every year so I always get a four day weekend.

Thank you Target for being RIGHT around the corner from my new house. Trust me, you will be as happy about this as I will be.

Thank you Chris for the picture of the pie I will hopefully be enjoying very soon.

Thank you belly for somehow fitting in every bit of the Thanksgiving meal I wanted, and now kindly quit asking for more desserts!

Thank you Brad for giving me reasons to smile all day long.

Thank you Eiko for reminding me that just because I have four wheel drive, it doesn't mean I can drive as much as I want in the snow (even though I pretty much did). It was nice to know someone was worried about me.

Thank you Libby and Sarah for being the cutest nieces ever. Can't wait to see you again. Just thinking about all the cute things you say every time I see you makes me smile.

Thank you Lord for every good, great, painful, crazy, unexpected blessing in my life. I know that I have this amazing experience called life because of You, I know that so many beautiful things are to come because of You, I know that everything in my life comes from You, and I know that my life has been more incredible than I could have ever imagined since I have turned it over to You.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting the most when you expect the least...

My last trip to Disneyland was not my favorite vacation for two main reasons:

1) I'm a bit of a nonconformist by nature, and on some level Disney goes against everything in me. I mean, come on... how has Walt Disney managed to create this world (or land) so fabulous that people will spend an entire year's savings to take their screaming, crying children there?

2) I had certain expectations based on being 11, not 27. So, at 11 years old, Big Thunder Mountain was pretty awesome, and Space Mountain went far beyond that. So I expected some rides that would give me a bit of a thrill. But really... at 27 my thrill tolerance had gone up significantly. It just takes more to satisfy. And I was there for rides, not an experience. California Adventure had some great rides, but we ended up there on day 2, when the park closed at 6pm for a private party. So EVERY single person in the state of California and Utah (it was UEA weekend) seemed to be in Disneyland that night. (My family would also mention that I ended up very wet and cold after a late night run on Splash Mountain... and anyone who has seen cold and wet Rachel would not need any further explanation).

When Emily decided to work at Disneyworld this fall, she really wanted the family to come down to visit. My parents committed to the trip, and I figured I couldn't pass up a ridiculously cheap trip to Disneyworld since I'd probably never go otherwise. I also wanted to go visit my sister and support her since I knew she really wanted us to go and see what she does everyday. So... I adjusted my expectations and booked my flight.

I spent 4 days at the parks with my family, and I have to admit, it was AWESOME. Disneyworld definitely has more to offer all around than Disneyland, so that helps. But really, I just went planning on having a good time with my family, and we had an amazing trip. It was so fun to just be together and enjoy everything there. Emily had planned out every day to the minute, which meant we ate delicious food everyday, we watched awesome shows each night, we rode some great rides, and we went home exhausted and happy every night. I have even overcome my slight prejudice toward Disney. I mean let's face it, Walt just got it right.

We also managed to squeeze in a few hours at Universal Studios so we could visit the Harry Potter theme park. We tried some butter beer, wandered through Hogsmeade, and visited Hogwarts castle. Awesome. (Harry Potter is another reason I have to re-think my nonconformist mentality. I refused to read the books until I took Emily to the first movie and had to find out for myself if Snape was actually a bad guy. I read the first 4 books in a month).

One of the best moments of the trip was one night when my parents turned in early and Emily and I had some good quality bonding time. I was so happy to finally have a little sister when Emily was born, and have always loved being her big sister. But sometimes I'm really glad I've been single long enough to enjoy hanging out with her as a friend and not just as the big sister.

The trip was pretty much filled with magic from beginning to end. There was even a little extra unexpected magic... but that's another story for another day...

Mom, Emily and I outside of the safari ride Emily runs.

Dad, Emily and I with our butter beer mustaches

Emily and I at the Magic Kingdom wishing well, wishing someday our princes will come ;)

Emmy and I on our surrey ride

Right outside Dumbledore's office

Of course you can't go to Disneyworld without a picture with the castle

At one of the resorts there is a restaurant called Beached and Cream. This was their famous "kitchen sink" dessert. My favorite is my mom's face.

Mom and I at EPCOT, I think my favorite park

Emmy and I outside the Hulk rollercoaster. It was pretty much awesome

One of my favorite pictures of my parents. Outside of Hogwarts

Standing in front of Everest, one of my other favorite rides

Emily Sue getting ready to take us on Safari

Another great picture of my parents at Downtown Disney

Emily and I outside the Barn Stormer (or we lovingly call it the Bronkin Stronkin... long story) with Brad who turned out to be a very charming addition to our trip.

I'd say this one is pretty much self-explanatory

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Monkey Trap

Sometimes I am like a monkey with my hand caught in a trap. I just don't want to let go of my "treasure" in order to free myself. Surprisingly, I think that "treasure" is usually some sort of pain or problem that I think I'm letting go of, when in reality I'm holding on to it for dear life. I am a martyr, and this problem is my cause.

The Savior atoned for us so that we can let go of these problems and find joy and peace. But if we just let them go, what would we have to worry over? This is my new goal: to recognize the treasures in my life that I'm holding on to. And then determine those that are truly there for growth and opportunity, and those I'm just holding on to because they are my one source of anguish. And then... I'm going to let go.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Iris Morning

I live in a very old house with lots of what I like to call "personality". And despite the fact that some aspects of "personality" are a little inconvenient, I love my little house. I love my neighborhood filled with beautiful trees and a fantastic, diverse group of people. However, with a backyard full of junk from old neighbors (that my landlord keeps promising he will take care of) and a set of new neighbors that like to leave cigarette butts and Pabst Blue Ribbon cans all over the front porch, I'm starting to tire of being the "rental" on the block.

I started looking at other options, and with that have started to wonder if I really do love this place all that much. I mean, a dishwasher could be nice, and having my washer and dryer in the same room might also be a nice change. It also wouldn't hurt to have a real furnace. (My old heater was pretty awesome actually. It was probably put in here in 1920 and looked very cool and vintage. Then it got a gas leak and was replaced with the kind of heater my dad put in his garage. It's a very classy sight as you walk through my hallway).

As I walked out of my door on Sunday morning to see the pile of junk my landlord still hasn't taken care of, I felt the recent resentment swelling up inside and started mentally going through my options once again. I was stopped short when I rounded the corner and saw that my irises had bloomed overnight. And I remembered why I love this little apartment. I planted my first flowers 2 years ago during my first spring in this house. I have watched the plants I placed into the ground bloom and flower and mature for two springs now. What surrounds my irises may not be beautiful right now, as the rest of the yard needs some love, but each spring, my irises come back again as beautiful as ever.

I learned as I planted these irises that we can't always see how beautiful a flower will be immediately. We have to bury it in the ground, water it, and hand its fate to nature. And even as we wait, we find ourselves surprised one morning when the sun has finally coerced soft lavendar petals out of their cocoon to finish off the spring in full bloom.

In the last two and a half years I have learned about planting flowers, but I have also learned about falling in and out of love, about finishing something I started, about believing in myself and trusting in the Lord, and about building friendships that will continue to bloom throughout my lifetime. And whenever, wherever I go, I will always be glad for the time I spent in this little house in the avenues.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Graduation... and all that comes with it

It's Official. I am a college grad. The downside to that is that once again I find myself trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I would have thought that by the time I was 31, had a cosmetology license, and a bachelor's degree I might have a clue. Well... I sort of do. It's just that now I feel like I need to move on to the next step. Which is... yeah, that's my problem.
But here are a few pictures of the big day and the after parties:

Two nights after I finished my last class, I headed to Huntington Beach for a mid-singles conference to celebrate my achievement. Yes, "mid-singles conference" is pretty much all it implies. I vacillated between loving the pick-up-and-go lifestyle that I enjoy as a single woman and feeling like I was back in junior high because of all the awkwardness that comes when 31-40 year olds try to flirt with each other in a church gym with 80's music playing in the background.

That being said, I picked the right people and the right place for a mid-singles conference. I stayed in a beach house with about 17 other people, which meant the party was pretty much always at our house. And, I spent the weekend hanging out with one of the greatest girls I know. Okay, so the point was to meet men. Well I met a few. And they were all right. But Jen and I got in some good bonding time, even sharing the couch one night since the fold-out bed was worse than a sleeping bag laid out over a rock pile.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I am officially "CERT"ified

I do not mean I am crazy, I mean I save lives and stuff. Well, I mean I can save lives and stuff. Well, okay maybe my partner and I died from walking right into a HAZMAT room within 30 seconds of our rescue simulation, but still...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Productivity dipped slightly below 100% today

But to be fair, my boss was the one that built the office fort for me to find when I got back from lunch.

And this was me in the afternoon yesterday after very little sleep, an early morning meeting, and a day with no sugar. I finally accepted defeat and went for some caffeine to get me through the day. Trish would ask WWPS (this stand for "what would Porter say". He is my fitness coach)? Well, luckily there are 0 calories in a diet dr. pepper.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Impossible is nothing. Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING.

I read this quote in a book by Elna Baker, and I'm not sure who originally stated it. But I love it. It inspires me every day to overcome what life throws at me. It reminds me I am strong, I am capable, and I am powerful if I allow God to give me what I need to move forward. So here's to 2010 and tearing down all impossibilities!

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Always Read the Map

So after my first snowboarding adventure on the mountain this year I decided I was finally good enough to give a new resort a try. I headed up to Snowbird a few weeks ago, all sorts of cocky thinking I was a real snowboarder. It turns out there were a few things I still needed to learn:

1. Trails where they are still making snow means you'll be riding over ice chips, so just don't do it!

2. Riding through the trees is a bad idea until you are really good at turning. I am not.

3. You should never take your board off of both feet unless you have a REALLY good hold of it. (It slid right on down the mountain without me. This was while I was stuck in the trees).

And the most important thing I learned was: Always read the map!! We had decided to get the pass that included the tram since it was only a few dollars more, and I figured I should at least try to get up the tram once since I'd paid for it. There were a few runs that came down from that high and one of them was blue with a black dotted line through it. Since blue is intermediate and black is hard, I figured blue and black was somewhere in between. I was wrong.

When I started down the hill I blew right by a sign that said "Expert Skiers Only". That worried me a little, but I saw my blue and black line and knew I was heading the right direction. As I rode confidently past the sign I finally saw the mammoth peak in front of me with the two smallest trails going off to either side I have ever seen. I felt like I was on Lord of the Rings about to walk along the side of a sheer snowy drop-off, only I had a board strapped to my feet that had not been incredibly cooperative up to that point in the day. It was then I decided to pull out the map again. It turns out, the blue and black line means something more along the lines of "You'll be black and blue by the time you reach the bottom." Oops.

I stood at the crossroad of death with a decision to make: I could hike the path of humiliation back up to the top of the hill and RIDE the tram back down ( I would be the only one making a return trip), or I could risk death or at least serious pain by taking one of the two paths ahead. I pondered for a moment whether humiliation was better than death and decided I've had a good run, so why not take my chances?

I obviously lived to tell my tale, and with just a few bruises to show for it. I also managed to learn a good life lesson. Often times I am quick to jump in and get something done, or head off on an adventure, but I don't always take the time to gather the information necessary to ensure I'm making a wise decision. I had a map, but I didn't really take the time to make sure I understood it, I just assumed I knew what I was doing and continued on my way. Instead, maybe I should take a few minutes to look at the information I have available and make the best decision possible with the consequences in mind.