Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Hard to Dance, With a Devil on your Back

This one's a little hard to write. But sometimes- in order to find my motivation in life, I have to get it all out there. Put it all on the line in order to motivate myself to change. So here it goes.

I have so much to "dance" about. But i'm quickly learning that it is hard to dance with a devil on your back. (If you haven't heard this song by Florence and the Machine, or remake by Glee, wow, you are missing out. It's called Shake it Out...Thank me later.)

I have the best husband who is willing to love me through anything.

I have the best family in the world, and I got to add the other best family in the world last August

School is going so well- a year and a half until I have my Masters!
It is almost Christmas, where I get to spend time with my family and friends.

Nothing to complain about here!

But for some reason I am stuck.

But like the song goes on to say... "it's always darkest before the dawn."

I think the devil knew how happy my life could be, so he jumped right on my back in order to ruin it the best he could. And for some reason I let him... but in the end that visual has helped me to get the motivation to SHAKE HIM OFF!

Or in my choice of methods...RUN him off!

In a moment of weakness, or as I have decided to call quarter-life crisis...I signed up for a marathon. I've finished a few halfs in my life,


but every time I cross that finish line I think i've said something to the extent of, "I don't know how ANYONE doubles that."

But my motivation is this-

if i'm going to be running a few hundred miles in the next few months, i'm bound to find myself somewhere along the way right?

No more of this negativity toward myself and my body. Because if I am going to finish this marathon me and and body are going to have to be the best of friends right?

So it's time to love myself for what I am and run my little heart out.  BYE devil. You have no place on my back any more.

Devil- consider yourself SHAKEN OFF! as of...NOW

Side note: if anyone out there runs or knows how to run...feel free to give any and all advice cause I NEED IT!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Days of Summer

I should be studying for finals.

Ehh...I should actually be studying for the GRE.

Not like my whole life of school and career is on the line or anything? All resting on this one dumb 4 1/2 hour test? That is in a week? Well shoot...

But Jonathan is gone at a final, the house is clean*, I made dinner**, and I can't find another distraction...which brought me to the revival of the blog. The distraction of ALL distractions.

**really, really rare

And thus we see. I am blogging.

Where better to begin?

the. summer. of. all. summers.

March- Engaged
April- Pick a dress, engagement pictures, get all addresses, last minute trip to Cali, say goodbye to Jonathan
May- Bridals, fly to Africa
June- Africa
July- Africa
August- Africa, fly home, see Jonathan, bridals, wedding, honeymoon, school.

Yep. that happened. And i'd like you all to notice that "plan a wedding" was no where in that list. I can thank my Mom and Sister for any and all things that were at that wedding. Other than Jonathan,  the rest was picked by my talented mom and sister.

So, let the unload of summer pictures begin!

Where better to start?

Down in AFRICA!

The place: Uganda

My crew:

The Cause: Put Solar power in maternity wards of health centers like this

In order to deliver babies like this

Now that i'm home I can sort of explain what we did there. It's one of those things that is hard for me to explain. But here I go...

Last December 2 non-profit organizations joined together to install solar power into maternity wards in Uganda. We Care Solar has created a "Solar Suitcase" that is made specifically for maternity wards, and Safe Mothers, Safe Babies has good relationships with people in villages in Uganda. So they paired up and installed about 20 of these Solar Suitcases into rural health centers and hospitals.

Us three students were sent there to evaluate that project. And not only that- we were supposed to evaluate our evaluation methods. You follow?

So we went to see how these Solar Suitcases were changing things for the health centers. Were more mothers delivering there because there was light now? Was there less maternal and infant deaths now that they have light to deliver the babies? Was there no influence at all? In addition, what is the best way to measure this stuff? Do interview work? Surveys? Etc?

So that was the cause. 3 months of interviews with health care staff that practically don't speak english, traveling between 10 health centers, seeing the births and c-sections of far too many babies, and trying to survive in a place far, far from home.

So with that- let the summer of all summer posts begin!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Love is Just a Game

Church in Uganda is quite the adventure. We are asked for money and sponsorship and just about everything you can think of every time we go. Today however, well that was a whole new experience. There is this man named Ivan... well Ivan was recently baptized and he has been terribly friendly with me. He has asked me on a date to which I politely declined because I have a fiance. And he has called...daily. He is now labeled "Ivan NO" on our phone so we know not to answer.

All these precautions were not sufficient...

Today while we were walking out of church he handed me an envelope and told me to wait to open it until  I was gone. And this is what it says...(same spelling and all)


Hi sister hayley, how are you? very nice to meet you and nice to talk to you it is my pleasure what about you?

sister, GOD gave us the law of chastity for our happiness, self respect and enjoy trust and confidence in our family relation ships and be blessed does it favour you? sister the law of chastity requires that sexual relationships be reserved for only marriage between aman and awoman on your side, how do you think about that?

with guidance of the holy ghost, I request you and me to develop greater wisdom, face trials with greater courage, feel God's support and direction in our lives, and be examples to our families and others.

The purpose of the text therefore, is to date you for marriage and we be sealed from the temple of GOD. Hayley may you give me afavour of accepting my request of you becoming my and your spouse and we do receive the expression of love with in our marriages so that allows me and you to participate in the creation of our lives?



That was about the only thing going through my head as I read this. Now what?! Sit him down and be like, 1. I am ENGAGED! 2. that is SO not appropriate.

I'm dyin here. I'm used to the constant cat calls and "bring me back to America" stuff, but a full on written proposal?! Just another day in Uganda I guess!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Down In Africa

I cannot believe I’ve almost been here for 1 month. Time flies when you’re…living in a cement box with scarce electricity, going to the bathroom in a hole many feet away from your house, showering once a week (and by shower I mean dump a cup or two of water on you), eating one sure meal a day, going on crazy bus/motorcycle rides, traveling between 10 health facilities, oh and the fun stuff, rafting the Nile, playing soccer and hand clap games with children, blowing bubbles, eating fruit, and working our tails off.

Ups and downs are definitely the name of the game here.

I’ve learned there is probably a reason that people don’t usually get engaged and leave the country right before their wedding… because it is HARD and CRAZY! I mean, it has been fun falling more in love over emails, but it’s pretty much the hardest thing I’ve ever done!

But among the bad and the hard, it is good- so very good. I am learning about myself and my limits and my capacity to love and grow and serve, and my limits of patience and strength. There are good people here living hard lives, the least I can do is suck it up and get to work for the 3 months I have here.

I’m surprised how many of the stereotypes of Africa are actually true. All of my expectation have been met which has surprised me.

There are a lot of children running around without shoes, in dirty and ragged clothing.

There are mud huts in the middle of lush green trees and red-ish dirt roads.
The sky really does go on forever with the beautiful landscape of trees on the horizon.
There are men and women working all day in the fields and getting water from wells, and yet a lot of them are sitting on their shaded porches all the day long.
Breast feeding really is a public event, with no shame in bearing it all.
Their hospitals are nothing like I’ve seen before.
I have yet to see a man touch a child, while the women or children always have them on their backs or in their arms.
The Ugandans are fascinated with us white people, and most especially with our cameras. Even the older women laugh and scream with joy as they see their faces on our camera screens.
They really do have little to nothing. I try to peer into the mud huts, or cement box houses, and seem to see nothing in them. Our little cement box has electricity; we must be living in the lap of luxury compared to most! I find myself missing the amenities of home. I miss my shower and bathroom and constant electricity. I feel as though I was not built strong enough for a life such as this. But even though they have nothing, they seem to make themselves happy enough. It is a hard line to find because they seem happy to me, and yet I know most of them want more for their lives.

We do not go one day without people asking us for money. It wears on you. Yesterday I was playing soccer with the kids and I was loving it! It was a busy week of visiting health centers, where lots of things went right, and lots of things went wrong, and a break with the kids was so much fun! But once we were done playing soccer, the kids were impressed a white girl could hold her own, and I thought I made a lot of friends! But…one of the boys comes up to me and says:

You are rich. Give me your bag. Give me money.

You get the point.

It happens every time! I feel like I am getting a friend, then all they really want is money. Little do they know I am a poor, almost married college student. But to them they see the color of my skin and think that I have so much to give. The hard thing is that compared to them I do have something I’m sure I could give. But the organization tells us not to give anything, because if you give to one, you’ll be expected to give to all. It is hard. At first I felt guilty but now I think I am just jaded because no one just wants to be our friend and everyone wants something.

The work is going here. We have visited all 10 health facilities we are working with, we have given them forms to fill out on each labor, and we have begun our first round of interviews. We try really hard to make everyday productive, but I feel like we have so many things fighting against us. Time, distance between centers, language barriers, cultural barriers, Western formalities, small amounts of staff at the health centers, and so much more. But we get up every day with all the hope in the world that things will go smoothly and we will return home safely and it will be a good day in Uganda.

There really is lots of good to counteract any bad we may encounter. The initial shock of holes in the ground for bathrooms, no showers, new food, new people, and constant attention from everyone has worn off and it has allowed us to focus and get to work!

I will be back in America in 2 months from now. That is a crazy beautiful thought. But for now I need to keep my mind in Uganda and just be here. Be here for the people and for Safe Mothers, Safe Babies, and for all the women and children we can help with the solar power research!

Sorry this is a lot of writing! The internet isn't good enough to get pictures...maybe one day! For now, facebook is the place to go to see Uganda!!

With love from Africa! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

If You Like It Than You Shoulda Put A Ring On It (Part 5)

Hi everyone! This is Hayley's roommates and Jonathan--we're guest posting part 5 because we know a bit  more about it than Hayley does.

It all started when Homeboy/Jonathan came to Sarah J. and said he was going to propose to Hayley pretty soon. Oh man, those were some giddy days. We were so excited! Later, he told all of us that he wanted to propose in our apartment because that is where everything has happened, and that he was thinking about doing a sort of a timeline of all of the things that he and Hayley had done together since they first met, with a station for each thing. We were so excited and it was really hard to keep it a secret, but somehow we all managed it.

A few weeks later, Homeboy called the ring place and found out that the ring would be done on Thursday. The sneaky rascal told Hayley that the ring would be ready on Monday, and then a few days later he asked Hayley on a date for Monday night. Hayley came in after he asked her and said, "Homeboy needs to learn how to be subtle." She simply could not believe that the dummy would practically tell her when he was going to propose. We did our best to be sympathetic but we all knew the truth--Homeboy was a lot more wily than she realized.

This was the plan: On Thursday morning, we were going to clear out our living room of all of the furniture while Homeboy went and picked up the ring. Then we would help Homeboy set up each of the stations. At five, Sarah J. was going to waltz back up to campus, act like she was coming from school, and pick up Hayley. That part was important, because Hayley has been known to come home at the most inconvenient times. It took a lot of work to commit her to that one. Once Hayley came in the door and had time to look at the timeline, Jonny would come down the stairs looking dashing and BAM! Make all of her dreams come true!

Well, the day finally came. Thursday morning arrived and Homeboy went to pick up the ring. We all felt that class and work and other responsibilities came second to the greatest day of Hayley's life, so we sent Hayley off to school and spent the rest of the morning getting ready. We cleared out all the furniture and then Homeboy arrived in a blaze of glory, holding the ring in his hand. We screamed and cried and you'll understand why when you see it--it is gorgeous. Good job, Homeboy. We set up the stations next. There was one for the first time they met (with a picture of them in their football gear, a football, and some cleats), one for the first time they cuddled (a mini fort made of our couch cushions), water guns for every time they have ever had a water fight (which is pretty much every day), and etc. Rachel, the domestic goddess of the apartment, had made bunting to hang around the room that showed the dates of each activity. The timeline ended with the date of the proposal--Thursday, March 22nd. We hate to brag, but the whole room looked dang good.

Well, 4pm found all of us sitting in the middle of the room, surveying our handiwork. The room looked dang good and we were all so pleased and feeling so leisurely--after all, we still had an hour and a half before Hayley was due.  But all of a sudden Homeboy got a look of pure terror in his eyes and started saying Hayleyhayleyhayleyhayley. We looked at the window and there came that wretched woman, prancing down the sidewalk and chattering away on her phone like she owned the place. We panicked. Rachel threw herself against the door and Homeboy, Sarah J., and Meggie hit the deck. Hayley started to unlock the door, but Rachel kept stalling for time and turning the knob while we thought of the plan. What we finally came up with was this: Send Sarah J. around back to distract her until Homeboy could get a suit on and grab the ring. Little did we know that we would regret that plan for the rest of our lives.

Sarah J. went outside to stop Hayley and this is what we heard:

Hayley: The door's stuck... I can't get in... what's wrong?
Sarah J: Nothing's wrong.
Hayley: What's wrong?
Sarah J: ...There's been a terrible accident.
Hayley: What's wrong?
Sarah J: ...There's been a murder.

Obviously that was the stupidest thing that anyone has ever heard and we all know it. Hayley finally decided that something was up and went to the neighbor's to await her fate. In the meantime, Homeboy sprinted home, threw on his fancy clothes, and then ran back up our stairs. Finally everything was ready and we went and got Hayley. 

She walked in and saw everything. We were all waiting on the top of the stairs, patting Homeboy on the shoulders and whispering good lucks, so we could hear her, and she was making some happy noises down there. Finally, the time came. Homeboy went down the stairs, shaking violently all the way, and gave her a big hug. He told her that she was his best friend and that he wanted to be with her forever. And then he got down on one knee (Hayley: "Are you serious??") and asked her to marry him.

And you know something? She said yes.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hold My Hand (part 4)

Skip the add and venture on to our song :) I'll give homeboy all the credit for this one. I figure you can listen to it while you continue to read the drawn out story of us.

"Have you ever thought of us getting married?"
"I'm a girl, of course I have..."

Let me back up and preface this conversation a little bit.

Every day in California was perfect. We were able to tour San Francisco which I had never been to before. I loved every second of it! I went to the beach, ate Karen's (homeboys Mom) amazing homemade meals, got to know his family, met his ward and friends, saw the Oakland Temple, saw the Redwood forest, and answerd a million "name three things you learned about fill in the blank here" questions from his dad. (His whole family will know exactly what i'm referring to, and I swear to this day all those questions sealed the deal that I wanted to be a part of that family forever-no joke).

The Sunday we spent in California we went to his ward where I got to meet their hilariously amazing friend Loke. Let's just say she was quite a catalyst to the marriage talk (Jonathan can feel free to thank her for it for all eternity). After Sacrament she pulled out her snacks from her bag, knowing full well that we were not going to go to Sunday school or Relief Society, and began her interrogation. I loved it, she talked like we were getting married, even to the extent of telling him that he should feel free not to come home ever again if he doesn't bring me along. I could tell homeboy didn't quite know how to handle her marriage comments. We had never talked about it before and it was pretty obvious that he was uncomfortable- I thought it was funny to watch him squirm. I know it was his squirming that prompted the conversation later that night- thank you Loke, from the bottom of my heart, I'm glad at least someone was brave ;)!

His question caught me off guard that night. Being a girl, the second anyone hears you are dating someone they are all over the marriage question. So of course I had actually thought about it, and probably confessed the possibility of marrying him to a person or two. But no way in this world had I confessed it to him! After talking for a bit we both concluded that the possibility was real, we definitely wouldn't mind it, but it was too soon to tell. On that note we dropped the subject for a week or two.

We got back from California and knew my pending trip to Uganda this summer was rapidly approaching. Realizing that I was falling in love, while knowing that I was committed to a summer abroad, my brain was all over the place. Everyone was asking me if I was going to back out of Uganda, they have no idea how tempting it was. I really do feel like I am leaving a huge part of me behind, and lets be honest, I am leaving a huge part of me here, but I'll be back. I had to keep telling myself that I needed to make the decision on my own, but now this decision involved someone else which was definitely throwing a kink in the plans.

If i've learned anything, it is that plans change. I may have been too stubborn to let my Uganda plan change though. After weeks of emotional turmoil about what to do, Uganda/no Uganda? Marriage/no marriage? If marriage, Aug or Dec? The decisions seemed to be endless and I seemed to be making them alone. I knew where Jonathan stood on the whole thing, he made that very clear. At least one of us can make decisions! But he left my side of the decisions clearly up to me.

Prayer, fasting, talking, crying-rinse and repeat. That seemed to be the theme of my weeks. I knew I loved him, I knew I wanted to marry him, I knew I was really involved with Uganda- and yet, I confused myself into thinking that I knew absolutely nothing.

Once Jonathan told me that he wanted to get married in August, I put him through the worst few days while I tried to sort out my mind. Luckily he was patient enough for all the fog to clear, until I let reality hit that i've known my answer all along. I knew I loved him, I knew I wanted to marry him, and I knew I was really involved with Uganda. I just needed to figure out that I knew it- all on my own.

When that realization hit, and the peace flooded into my body, I have never wanted to tell someone something as bad as in that moment. I would have yelled it from across Provo that I KNOW I WANT TO MARRY YOU, if I knew he would hear me. But I kept it in until the second I saw him. The emotional roller coaster I had sent him on that week was hopefully worth the news at the end.

From that second on it became game time, like plan-wedding-in-turbo-mode kinda game time. No joke, the next weekend we found my wedding ring, and my wedding dress, getting engaged was irrelevant at that moment- we knew that we had a very limited time together before I leave for the summer and return 11 days before the wedding.

I guess the order of things is irrelevant when love is the name of the game. I'm okay with that. We do love in our own kind of way.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My love waits there in San Francisco (part 3)

Where did we leave off?

girl code...check.
fall in love... uh let's begin there.

I've never been in love before (well other than now of course). I've dated some people, been through the ups and downs of dating, felt the hopelessness that comes with the crush that doesn't like you back, ya know, i've made the rounds.

Falling in love though? I think I could do that all day every day. And lucky for me, I get to. It is fun to fall in love with someone the more you learn about them- the quarks, the good, and the bad.  It is worth the wait, worth the journey, and so worth the ups and downs.

Ya know the whole rhyme, first comes love, then comes know the rest. Well I feel as though they left out a pretty big part... What happened to the courting?! (and no that word is not just for the 70 year olds)

So, let the courting begin!

Lots of hanging out led to... post about the fort. Remember that one? Well there is a picture I left out... ta-da! Jonathan!

Surprise! It was not just me and my roommates making that fort. We had some help, from an eagle scout, who may have helped our success in a big way... And just my luck, that fort was just small enough that of course I had to be right by him, and of course the only place for his hand was right in mine :)

I guess that gave him the courage to ask me on a date cause homeboy (which is what my roommates and I call him) finally asked me on one...three weeks after the infamous football game. But somehow he didn't need three more weeks to get up the courage to kiss me because it sure happened that day. And let's be honest, first date and first kiss in the same night? I wouldn't have wanted it any other way!

After that point it becomes a blur for a few weeks.

Lots of time together+finals+my reluctance to say yes to officially dating him because I was scared and lame and wanted it to all slow down+going home for Christmas vacation=what happened to the month of December?!

I do remember sitting on the floor with my sister-in-law talking about marriage late at night over the break. We talked as though I was going to marry him even though I was not even technically dating him. But it felt natural. So natural. Intuition is a beautiful thing.

So I came back from Christmas break ready to be officially his.

More dating, more learning about each other, basketball camp outs, intramurels, and water fights got us through the dreary month of January.

Then February came, and February became the month that officially changed my life.

One of his friends was heading to Northern California over President's day, and invited him to come in order to split the gas money. Well seeing as that is his home, it made sense. To be honest it totally caught me off guard when he invited me to come along though. We had only been dating, technically, for one month, it wasn't very serious yet, and meeting his family seemed like a big step. I was really excited to go though, and we decided that it wasn't going to be a big deal, just a fun vacation from Provo. Little did we know, it would be the vacation that proved that we loved each other. And would love each other for then, and forever.

His family is amazing but I was really REALLY nervous to meet them. I've never been in that situation before, especially when I was going to be sleeping at their house for a weekend. I didn't know if they would like me, or tell him to break up with me, or think that I was not good enough. And hello, anyone seen Meet The Parents?? So many things could go wrong! Burning the house down, breaking someones nose, breaking a vase of a dead persons ashes, so many possibilities.But, at least as far as i'm concerned, it was one of the best weekends of my life.

Yeah, it was just what I needed to prove that the things I was beginning to feel in Provo were true...

And one night after a picnic in the Redwood Forest, we were laying on the couch in front of a fire when he, out of no where says, "Have you ever thought of us getting married?"

To which I responded...

Friday, March 30, 2012

My love waits there in San Francisco (part 2)

Girl Code. 

If you type it in to, this is what you get...

1. Girl Code

The code of guidelines that girls must obey in order not to get kicked out of the community.
There are many opinions if the Girl Code actually exists, as well as the Guy Code.
1) If you change boyfriends so fast they rarely achieve name status, a man must be around for at least six weeks before you make your friends bother to learn his first name. Until such time, he should be referred to as "The boy" or "That guy".

2) All girls must have a "Mr.Right Now". This is the guy friend who is always ready and available to hang out with you, and may or may not like you as more than a friend. He's not “Mr. Right,” but he may be good enough to be “Mr. Right Now.”

3) If you just met a guy and know absolutley nothing about him, but need to refer to him during 'girl talk' you use one example of who he is, something he has, or what he does, and he becomes... that guy.
(Ex. "The Camaro guy", "The Trainer dude", "The Four a.m. in the Taxi Guy")

4) Every girl must wait at least a day and a half before calling a guy whose number she has retreived.

5) You are never in any case to date a friends ex or a guy who she was really into.
Exception: If he's one of those guys who every girl likes. 

2. Girl Code
An established code, a womans law that 'every girl should follow.ODE  
Any rulebreak is punishable from fellow females and general looking down upon... (note rules are not in order of importance, bar rule #1) 

1# Rule no 1 and the MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL.. No girl may date her friend's; exs, past crushes, guys who have humiliated/used her and guys she currently fancies... Do this at your own risk!! Acceptions to rule: a) Your friend has given you permission/ couldn't care less b) The said fancying/going out happened before the age of puberty 

2# It is perfectly acceptable to take an automatic dislike to a girl/ judge them without ever speaking to them 

3# Chocolate is an accepted food in any occasion 

4# A girl has a right to lie in order to keep a secret told to her by her best friend. 

So, you see... girl code. Always risky territory I say.

As far as I was concerned, the great hugging quarterback was taken via numbers 5 and 1 in the aforementioned definitions...hate that right? I looked across the table at him while we were eating tacos at Julia's party, and thought to myself, "don't even go there Hayley." I swore to myself, to the girl code, to the girl, and to the well-being of the universe, I was NOT going to like someone that was already being crushed on.
I tell you, I tried! I told myself that I did not like him, I told my roommates that I did not like him, but let's be honest... 
Once I realized (probably more like once I accepted) that I was falling for this kid, I had to figure out if it was for real. I knew that it had better be worth it for all the unsettled feelings it could cause everyone involved. 

It didn't take long for me to tell that this was different, he was different, he made me feel different. And I liked it a lot. 

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart" -Confucius 

With that as my motto, a hard conversation with one of my best friends in the world under my belt, and a first date coming up, my world embarked on the whirl-wind that I like to call-- falling in love.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My love waits there in San Francisco (part 1)

Now that I have officially blown the mind of the fbook world with my little news last week, I guess it's about time to introduce this whole blog world to the reason I have been distracted from blogging...

Story time shall we?

Once upon a time, let's say...last September, My roommates and I moved into a little apartment called Monticello. Little did we know then, our back door would be located precisely 16 steps from the love of my life's front door.

Anyway, life went on, single, lovin it (sort of), and preparing to leave for Uganda in the coming May. Flag football was great as always, passing the time of another fall semester. Another "little did I know then occurrence", my nameless free safety coach would later become a lot more than that...

Thanksgiving time rolled around, which means one thing. Ward Turkey Bowl. And boy can I thank this one event for changing the course of my life. When the boys finally let the girls join their football game, I was put on a team, and probably played the game of my life. Thank goodness! Our quarterback was getting a little frustrated with me, telling me to quit playing like a girl and do something! I took a little offense, but followed orders and ran straight down the line without looking back until I reached the end zone. I did just that, and caught a mighty beautiful pass to get a touchdown. In my opinion, it was that very second that Jonathan realized who I was, and that he might have some potential interest. I guess it makes sense, seeing as he was that quarterback, the one who threw the beautiful pass, that I caught, that changed our lives. I still remember the huge hug he gave me after that, yep, I liked it.

The game continued, we were playing to 7 touchdowns and we were winning with six. Jonathan gave me the little nod, like the "it might be coming to you nod."  I was game. I ran my fastest down the field, started fading to the middle, then caught another beautiful pass. Everyone cheered (once the shock that I actually caught that went away), got another huge hug, celebrated the win, and then I went on my merry way, not thinking too much about the skilled quarterback who gives good hugs.

THE Turkey Bowl

That night Julia had a taco party at her house which, according to Jonathan, is when I caught his eye a little bit.  But this is when this story gets a little tricky...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

To Make You Feel My Love

There are a few girls in my life who deserve a shout out.

Let's be honest though, they deserve A LOT more than that, but sometimes this is just the best I can do.

I am one lucky girl.

I have been blessed to live with the best five girls throughout my time in college. As I watch our original crew dwindle I can't help but hurt. Like a deep down, in your heart hurt. But even more than that, I feel so much love and excitement for the things they are doing.

We were put together freshman year to become who we are now. And now is our time to prove that we've done just that. If we kept each other to ourselves then what have we contributed to the world? We were put together to prepare us for things to come, and now is the time to take that jump. Marriage, missions, school, all such worthy causes. And the fact that we got each other to each of these milestones is one beautiful thing.

We have molded each other, loved each other, and laughed and cried the whole way through. I owe them the moon and the sun and all the stars in between. They have held me together when all I wanted to do was fall apart. They loved me when I was anything but lovable. And for that I am eternally grateful.

People told me that i'd make the best friends in college. I doubted them, but now best friends doesn't even describe it.

At times they know me better than anyone. One day I was sad because I missed out on eating Thai food with my friends. What did my roommates do? They surprised me a delicious Thai meal the next day. One day I said I was craving a smoothie. The next day I wake up from a nap with a smoothie waiting for me. One night, okay lots of nights after Thailand I would cry and cry. What would they do? Sit in silence, with me, hugging me, willing me through this slump right by my side, just where I needed them. Boy problems arise, they talk me through them. Boy excitement arises, they are there every step of the way.

I owe these girls. Boy do I owe them big time. They have made these last three years ones to NEVER forget. I love you all. For the things you have taught me, for the ways you have served me, for the things you have changed within me. Please know how much you mean to me. Whether I always show it or not...

Peace and blessings my girls.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Out of the doubt that fills my mind

My semester, and brain for that matter, seems consumed with preparations for Uganda. Literature reviews, proposal writing, article reading, medical training, panicking, the list goes on.

With all these preparations one would think that my excitement level and prepared feelings would heighten as the semester goes on. Well of course that would be the logical assumption. But what I really find is that my feelings of inadequacy and fear heighten.

I was watching Hook the other day (of course I was) and the last line sort of hit me. K not sort of, it really hit me.

Granny Wendy: So... your adventures are over. 
Peter Banning: Oh, no. To live... to live would be an awfully big adventure.

I think I have had this feeling lately. I went to Thailand, I had an adventure. And now my adventures are over. OR, why would I miss out on Uganda? That's the only way to have another adventure? Peter's response rings true to me though. I have had an adventure, but life itself is the adventure. Whether I am going to school in Provo, riding an elephant in Thailand, or working my tail off in Uganda, it is an adventure if I choose to make it one.

I've been looking at my Thailand journal lately. I thought it might help me with some decisions I find myself making these days. I was not planning on it helping me increase my desire to go to Uganda, but the strength of my own words right on the cusp of my Thailand adventure have rejuvenated my excitement for Uganda...for the most part.

Here is a little bit from my first day back in America, written around 4:00am when I could not sleep due to the time change.
"Thailand feels like a distant dream. A good dream though, a life changing, never wanna wake up from it kind of dream. I prayed every night thanking my Heavenly Father for the chance to be there...

I learned that I can do hard things, but I also learned that I can not do hard things alone. Without the opportunity to skype home and hang out with my Thailand crew I never would have made it. Ever. It shows me that the happiness in life is directly influenced by the people you spend it with. I am blessed to have the people in my life that I do. Oh, I'm so blessed!

I learned I am brave.

I learned I can stand alone, without the cover of my comfort groups around me.

I learned that the world is an amazing place. And I am on this earth to experience it.

I learned that I need to remember the experiences I have had and go up. If I come home from a life changing experience like that and fall back into all the same patterns as before then i simply didn't learn my lesson. I need to make changes. Life is an evolution, it is just up to me whether it evolves forwards or backwards. 

Thailand was a beautiful, challenging, enlightening, exhausting, exciting, hard, adventure. I laughed, and I cried...a lot... I hope i left some sort of mark on Thailand because I sure know it left a mark on me. I hope to never be the same as  I was pre-Thailand."

I still have my doubts about Uganda at times. And those doubts are,putting it lightly, FREAKING ME OUT! People that know me know that I make a decision, make it happen, and remain confident in it. I don't know what my hesitation is, or when it will go away. If it is even planning on going away... My brain knows I can do this, but something deep down inside is not so convinced...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Your Body Is a Wonderland

Oh the things people do for money...

Like subjecting themselves to experimental testing...check

Waiting in long lines for free anything...check

Only going bowling once a semester because it is free only once a semester...check

No more ice cream runs because we don't have our money filled student cards...check

Ya catchin my drift?

Well I feel plasma is stooping to an all time low. Or our need for money is at an all time high so we need to maximize our profits... I like to think it is the latter.

No one should be sitting in a chair while the man sticking needles into you is talking with another man sticking needles into someone else about how tired and loopy they are. You should never hear them say that they are just gonna do it with their eyes closed. You should never hear them say that they have had such a long day that they can barely keep things straight. You should never hear them say they missed. You should never hear them say that you have a delicious vain. And you should also NEVER HEAR THEM SAY OOPS!

Well, maybe I just learned my lesson. Is it that I should stop giving plasma because one of the workers made me cry? Or they squirted blood on me? Or they made my finger bruise? Of course not! My lesson is just that I better donate plasma well before closing time.

I mean come on, I've gotta get to Disneyland somehow!!

If my body has stuff in it that I don't need, and someone else needs it? Well shoot, count me in. Count me even more in if I get some money. And count me double in if my needle sticking guy doesn't talk about the fact that he doesn't know what he's doing!! I mean, I like my arm, i've grown rather fond of it over the years. And hey plasma man! I'd rather keep it if ya know what I mean!!!

Disneyland approximately $400
Money earned from plasma so far $70

Days until we leave 37.

What does that mean? I sure wish I could go more than twice a week...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday To...

This blog is almost one year old. If only we could celebrate a blogs birthday... Cause that would mean I would get cake...I always like getting cake. 

Weird though.

Weird how much has happened, how much I've changed, how much I've seen, and how much is yet to come. 

I started this blog to document my preparation for, and time in Thailand (in addition to all the other random stuff I felt like writing at the time)

As I look back on my first post, I realize how much has not changed, among all the stuff that has. I still:

Write essays to Enya
Cry to John Mayer and the Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
Party to (not limited to however) Ke$ha, Lady G, Venga Boys, BEPS, Akon, just the usual
Craugh (crying and laughing at the same time, weird I know) to Sara Bareilles
Mookie (it's going to be the next big dance crazy, watch for it on youtube. And you thought the jerk was big!) to ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING
Jam to All The Above by Akon
Reminisce to Tiny Dancer

plus the addition of 

studying to any and every movie soundtrack
loving life to I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz
gaining an appreciation for Hyphe and Sia...
crying to Adelle

plus oh so many more. Music is still my life, and many lyrics seem to describe it now more than ever. 

Since the beginning of the blog I have managed to con 26 people into sticking with me (thanks by the way). About 8,000 page views, which I am convinced are mostly mine. And 120 posts of pure, random life with music lyric titles that describe them to a T. 

My most read post is this one. Looking back on it, my life would have been so much better this last year if I could have just taken my own advice. I still remember this moment, it was a big one for me. I still find myself among all the decisions and change that I was back then, but I am content now, well at least I try to be. I have realized I can not rush what I can not change. And I see no need in wasting my time rushing my life away when I have so much to stop and be happy about. 

The next most read post is this one. When I was just rereading that I felt a crazy surge of emotions. Fear for myself, knowing what is ahead of me at that point in time. Longing, I would do anything to go back to Thailand. Happiness, little did I know it then, when I was writing that post I was embarking on the most life changing experience I could ever imagine. Oh how clueless I was, ha! I just laugh at that smiling face that had no idea what was to come... and yet I am choosing to do it all over again in Uganda

Whether I was running a race, getting a full on airport pat down, riding on elephants, stessin out over school or boys, loving life with my family, friends and roommates, crying...a lot, transitioning back to American life, closing down my parents store, saying by to my brother and his family, marrying off a roommate and sending another on a mission, marrying two of my best friends, being happy, adventurous, sad, excited, depressed, it all just reminds me that life is one crazy adventure. 

Only one more year of my life down, with a lot to show for it, and even more to get me excited for what is to come. Change is scary, I think that is my biggest lesson of 2011. I have a feeling I got the opportunity to learn that in 2011 so that I am ready and willing to accept the changes of 2012. Only 21 days in and I know it is going to be an adventure of a year. 

Ya know what though, I am ready for it. Because....well, game on I say! The change is inevitable, so I might as well make it what I want it to be, something exciting and awesome and new. Nothing wrong with exciting and awesome and new right? 

Welcome 2012, welcome to year 2 of the blog. I find myself in a similar spot as last year. Preparing and fearing for another life changing adventure in Uganda. And preparing for the twists and turns that are just gonna come whether I am ready or not. Like I said when my parents store was closing... I choose not to run from the change, I choose to stand up and face it. Because it is coming for me whether I am turning my back on it and running, or facing it face forward with my army of friends and family by my side. They will always be at my side, another good lesson of 2011. The people that love me will always love me. And I will ALWAYS love them.

Hey 2012, come and get me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Man, I Love College

A day in the life of a college student tends to be one of boredom, repetition, homework, work, wanted naps, not had naps, food (or lack thereof) ya know, pretty same old.

But some days....OH some days. Things can get pretty interesting.

Take today for example.

Sarah J and I got termites dumped on us. For real.

We were sitting in Bio 100, yes we, Juniors in college, are taking Bio 100 with all the Freshman. Speaking of those Freshman...we were doing our experiment which included watching termites follow a line on a piece of paper. Easy yeah? Us sophisticated Juniors were handling it like champs, while the girls next to us somehow, I will never know how, DUMPED OUT THEIR TERMITES!!!

All over my backpack and my feet. Which of course means that they are well on their way up to my head, burrowing their nasty squirmy selves through my body. I just know it. Ever seen a termite?

Well now you have. Don't have nightmares about them crawling all over your body like I will have. It's not fun...dumb freshman.

Another exciting day? Well, when these guys hung out in our living room of course.

Yeah you see that right. Lizard, weasel, man eating wolf, Hedwig, turtle, nbd. 
Turkey... Meg said she'll never have another Thanksgiving dinner without that little guy sitting by her side.

 That otter was dang cute if I don't say so myself

Animal party isn't complete without Hedwig!

 And something that would eat me if it could...

And the oh so cuddly(?) lizard which took the cake as Megs favorite

Those are REAL, well they were real... and it became pretty much normal to walk down my stairs in the morning to be greeting by a murderous looking wolf.

Among all the boring, same old days of college, luckily it is days like these that finally spice it up a bit.

Oh and how could I forget....another out of the ordinary day was when the roommates decided we are up and selling out bodies (plasma mom, no worries) to get to Disneyland. It's real. 6 weeks to get rich off my internal fluids. game on.

Hey Aladdin! See you soon!