Sunday, April 28, 2013

entered to learn, going forth to serve

cougz // family // fiance // going forth to serve
I've felt like I had 3 Saturdays in a row this week. My family came into town on Thursday and attended commencement. Preston's mom came out as well so everyone got to meet each other finally. I've eaten amazing food and forgot about the hunger games for a bit to celebrate the completion of my undergraduate career. My parents got to meet my friends. I officially graduated on Friday morning. It was bizarre and happy and relieving and sad. I'm a little bit jealous that Alyanna got to fly home with my parents and brother. My mom cried saying goodbye and has every time I've flown back to Utah or she's had to leave me in Utah since my freshman year. Yesterday was spent picking out groomsmen outfits and laying in the sun. I spent all day in my new swimsuit and I couldn't have been happier. This afternoon I got to see my wedding invitation for the first time!! They're beautiful. I'm getting so excited for June 21. The weather is perfect and I don't have a care in the world. It's the weirdest feeling not having to think about classes or studying. I am a college graduate and I'm gonna go play at the park now.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the best four years

Last night I took the last final of my undergraduate career at Brigham Young University and on my walk home, I got a little emotional walking through campus, and not as a result of my test score (I actually did way better than I thought!) Honestly, aside from my parents joining the church, BYU has been one of the best experiences and decisions of my life.
Freshman Year (August 2009-April 2010)

It is no secret that my freshman year was my worst year of college and one of the worst of my life. I hated everything about BYU and refused to give it a chance. Many nights were spent in my room or on campus studying while everyone else made memories and friends. One shining aspect of freshman year was the friendship that developed between Jadyn Cherry and me. Jadyn and I were kindred spirits and basked in our antisocial activity together. We hated everyone, went to yoga, watched an embarrassing amount of The OC and missed our stupid boyfriends together. I chose my major this year after failing chemistry and coming to terms with the fact that I wouldn't be going to med school. Freshman year sucked, but Jadyn is one of my best friends to this day and I love our friendship and am so glad we found each other that dismal year.
Sophomore Year (August 2010-June 2011)

Jadyn and I were roommates and lived in a g-h-e-t-t-o house with crazy people. This year was insane and dramatic but a lot of fun. One of my favorite memories was going to Arizona with Jadyn twice- once for her grandfather's funeral and again for Thanksgiving. Above is us at the Grand Canyon. This was also the year I took my favorite class at BYU- PD Bio 220 Human Anatomy with the legendary Rachel Tomco (who I have learned is getting married this summer and this was her last semester teaching at BYU! I'm so excited for her.) 
Also during sophomore year I had my favorite BYU experience. On a whim I decided to join the BYU Model United Nations team. I was intimidated in the beginning and didn't really make friends the first semester, but after winter semester and competing in New York, I've made some life long friends, some of who I consider my best. MUN was such a rewarding experience and I gained so much confidence after competing. I consistently use MUN to answer those "Describe a time when you were a leader/worked in a team/were faced with an ethical dilemma" questions in job interviews. I would recommend it to anyone. Plus, BYU is really good at it and we win every year.
Junior Year (August 2011-August 2012)
This was probably my favorite year at BYU. I moved in with my MUN TA's, Kylie Cox and Ashley Ysasaga. Together we saw Chris Brown in LA, ventured to Brianhead, sang a lot of Celine Dion, girl-talked and ate a worrisome amount of sausage egg McMuffins. These two are some of my dearest friends and I have met so many awesome people through both of them. In October I met Preston Kutney, which was cool I guess. I stayed in Provo the whole year and had the best summer of my life with my new best friend in the entire world. 

Senior Year (August 2012-April 2013)

Holy shi I'm a senior. This year has been so insane and challenging and so blissfully happy and carefree at the same time. I took the GRE, applied for grad schools, got rejected from grad schools, got engaged and in two days I will graduate. I live with three amazing girls- Blythe Beecroft, Brooke Zollinger and Brooke Ellis and all three are the best examples to me and make me want to be a better human. I've dressed up in some of the most bizarre costumes and attended some of the best dance parties this year. I've cried a lot about the stupidest things and not-so-stupid things. I've probably gotten myself in the best shape of my life since I quit dance in high school. I've written a hell of a lot of cover letters, interviewed for a lot of jobs and prayed A LOT. I'm still praying. I'm still interviewing. I read the entire standard works! Not all this year, but I finished two days ago. I've learned how to cook a lot of really delicious things and learned that I might actually like cooking and even baking. I've learned that generic is just as good as name brand for everything except Wheat Thins. I think I know what it means to really love someone, and I know what it means to care more about someone else's happiness than your own. I've learned that things change and your plans don't work out and your five year plan may not be anywhere remotely close to what you envisioned your senior year of high school and it's okay because you've learned so much that you never would have learned if you stuck to your five year plan.

My parents will be in town Thursday and Friday for graduation festivities. I cannot wait to see them and for Preston's family to finally meet my family. I still can't believe I've completed four years college. I feel too young to be a college graduate. I'm trying to make my blog posts less lengthy, so I'll close with this: BYU will have a place in my heart for eternity. I will do everything in my power to have my children attend this university and will cheer for BYU basketball til I die. I know I would not have had the same incredible spiritual experience and growth had I attended a different college. This place is special and I love it with all my heart. Here's to the best four years. Congratulations class of 2013.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

comparison is the thief of joy

This video came up on my Tumblr feed this morning and it was just what I needed. Lately I've been feeling bad about myself. Little things happen that make me remember all the things that I am insecure/unhappy about with myself and I just dwell and dwell on it until my heart is so heavy and I'm so mad I want to burst. I had a whole post drafted about how you need to love yourself before you can love someone else and you're beautiful and blah blah blah but you get that in Relief Society every Sunday. I will say you are prettier/cooler/smarter/funnier than you think you are. If you think someone else is going to make all your insecurities go away and you'll suddenly feel pretty and good enough, you're wrong- that's on you. And finally, from Elder Holland's "To Young Women" talk from October 2005, "In the kingdom of God, the real you is more precious than rubies."  [or diamonds]
And a quote we all need to live by.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

start where you are

Last weekend was the 183rd General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had the opportunity to listen to the prophets and leaders of the LDS church, hear their counsel and use their teachings to improve my life. It's one of the best weekends of the year! If you missed any part of it, the entire conference can be watched here.

Before I left for college, my Young Women's leader gave me the journal that is pictured above. I decided to use it as my "church" journal, because although she encouraged us to use it to record our college experiences, I felt silly writing about boys and grades in a notebook with JESUS on the cover. Appropriately, I finished the journal during the last session of conference. It really warms my heart to flip through all the pages and see the notes that I took during General Conference, Relief Society sessions, Christmas devotionals and firesides. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to attend BYU and be so close to all of the leaders of the church. It is truly a unique and special experience and has only added to my love for the university.

As usual, I want to share my favorite talks, quotes and insights I gleaned from this April conference. Check it out:
  • One of the biggest themes of the entire conference was missionary work. When I asked Preston about priesthood session, he said it was heavily emphasized as well. Ever since the historical announcement made last October regarding the lowering of the missionary age, there has been an explosion of missionaries. I know I have probably shared this on this blog or to you in person, but I have a tremendous testimony of missionary work. My own parents joined the Church when two sister missionaries knocked on their door in Tennessee. It's real and it works. There are few things more admirable to me than young men and women in the prime of their life taking aside 18-24 months to serve the Lord and teach His children. One of the most important lessons I learned from conference was how important it is to be a missionary, even if you don't have an actual call or name badge. Elder Andersen said it so sweetly- "Paint a missionary badge on your heart."
  • "Who could've imagined that the full standard works and years of General Conference would be able to fit in your pocket?" -Elder Richard G. Scott. I love using social media to promote my faith. Obviously. It made me so happy to see my Twitter feed so active with #ldsconf tweets. We are a technology driven generation and the Lord knows that, which is why it's so easy to share the gospel through all forms of social media. And who doesn't love the Gospel Library app? It really is amazing the years of knowledge and counsel we have at our fingertips.
  • David A. Bednar's talk on chastity and the sanctity of marriage. I knew this would be addressed at conference and it was mentioned several times and emphasized by quite a few General Authorities. Elder Bednar emphasized Satan's desire to make us miserable using our bodies because it is the one thing he will never have. 
  • Dieter F. Uchtdorf's entire talk. This was my favorite talk of the weekend and the title of my post. President Uchtdorf gave us 3 things to do:
    1) Start where you are.
    2) Turn your heart towards the Lord.
    3) Walk in the light. 

    I loved the first step of starting where you are. He explained that we don't have to wait until we are in our final days of judgment to receive the Lord's blessings. The Lord's blessings aren't reserved for perfect people. The Lord is ready to bless us and help us  if we just start now, right where we are, regardless of how far behind we feel. It's the small, righteous little things we try to do each day that make a difference and ultimately exalt us. This talk was so encouraging and reminded me of the beauty and perfection of the Savior's love.
  • L. Whitney Clayton's talk about marriage. Because I'm getting married. But seriously, this was great. He gave us 5 things he has observed and learned are necessary to maintain a successful marriage. My favorite line was, "Marriage is a gift from God to us. The quality of our marriage is our gift to Him."
  • Jeffrey R. Holland's talk. I feel like the entire church holds their breath in anticipation for Elder Holland's talks. This one was another encouraging talk about turning to the Lord and having faith that He will help us. My favorite line from probably the entire conference was from this talk: "Imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with and that must be terribly frustrating for Him, but He deals with it and so should we." Be patient with each other guys. If the Lord can deal with our 239587094375938745 faults, we can learn to deal with each other's.

    If you managed to read this whole post, thank you. I consider my General Conference posts to be the most important ones on this blog. I appreciate your comments and feel free to direct any questions to me and I'll try my best to answer them. I love my church and I love President Monson. I know he has been appointed by the Lord as a living prophet to lead us through this crazy world. This gospel brings me the most joy I've ever known. I know it's true and I love it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

april showers bring may flowers

This Saturday during Priesthood session, my friends threw me the prettiest bridal shower in the land. Above are my angel friends.
Get ready to pin the hell out of this post. Kate was gracious enough to offer her lovely home for the shower. This was the entrance. How cute?! Honestly the prettiest shower I've ever attended. It was cuter than my wedding will ever be. 
This was the table of treats. An entire spread of everything I LOVE- cupcakes, donuts, cheesy snacks, gummies. I took a break from the hunger games for the evening. 
 Liiike have you seen anything more darling? (which, fun fact, is the word Preston would use to describe me. awwww!) My friends have the most exquisite taste in everything. Everyone kept going on about how cute/pretty/nice everything was. I think they should go into an event planning business because I want everything I ever attend or throw to be this cute. I can't seem to find another adjective to use except for pretty or cute. Sorry. Also the cupcakes pictured were divine.
 Prestynna shrine.
 These are mochi ice cream balls, my favorite food in the entire world.
Here is where I sat. How pretty are the ribbons?? And the pinwheel thing?? I wanted to steal it for the wedding. I had such a fun time seeing everyone and playing all the cute bride games. They did the game where they interviewed Preston. Awwww. So cute. So excited to wed him. It was funny to see him think about certain questions and test how well I knew him. We answered most of the questions pretty accurately, so I guess our love is real. 

I had the best time and have the best friends. Thanks to everyone that made it out, helped plan and for all my lovely presents. (Remember when I blogged about this swimsuit? Alyanna and my mom got it for me! I love it and can't wait for summer.) It was perfect! 74 days y'all. LoL

Monday, April 1, 2013

drop dead healthy

New month, new food. Originally I planned to start dieting January 1, but that lasted 2 days when I realized I wasn't getting married for 6 months. But now that April has begun, I've decided to eat less. Also I'm not really sorry if this post offends you or makes you angry or sad for me. I'm getting married in June and want to be very small in my pictures and for myself and future husband and that's just my thing. I know how to eat and not eat and I know what's healthy and unhealthy, so lemme be.

The #1 reason why I'm even writing this is so I can be accountable to "someone." If I put it on the Internet, people read it and know about and it makes me conscious of my decision and goals. I actually eat fairly well and cook regularly, but I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, usually, and that's the main thing I want to change. Here are my April goals:

1) No treats. Damn. This is going to be the hardest. If you know me at all, my catchphrase is "Got any treats?" I'm going to let myself have 1 normal day a week because if I cut off treats and normal foods entirely, I will be super grumpy.
2) No food after 8 PM.
3) Minimal carbs. I'm really bad at tracking this because literally everything I put in my mouth has carbs I think. But I'm going to try to up the fruits, vegetables and protein and minimize carbs to quinoa and cereal in the morning (but it is protein-y cereal!)
4) 30 min. cardio minimum daily (except Sunday). This is also hard because I'm 94% sure I have a stress fracture in my right foot. I've been trying to rest it these past couple days and have only been doing the bike for my cardio. I hate it because it's boring and I feel like I'm not doing anything but everything else hurts :( In addition to cardio I alternate between doing abs and arms so it's about an hour long workout.
5) Keep a food/exercise log. Don't worry, I won't put it on here, but I will keep one. It makes all the difference when you have to write down "Reese's peanut butter egg" on a piece of paper. Ugh.
6) Healthy snacks. I think this is going to be my key and the best thing to prevent me from killing myself. I am always hungry but I never have healthy snacks to munch on. I never pack any for school and by the time I get home to make a meal, I'm ravenous and start munching on whatever is around, healthy or not.
7) Drink more water. I'm so bad at this. I only drink water when I'm thirsty and when I'm eating. I'm going to try and drink a glass before each meal because it makes you full and is good for you. Also I hate always having to pee which always happens when I increase my water intake.
8) Take the stairs. This is really fun cuz I work on the 7th floor of my building. As in 7 out of 7 floors.

I also started reading Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs this weekend. Jacobs takes on these year long (?) challenges and devotes his entire life to them, then reports back. He did a year of living biblically, where he followed all of Moses' Law, including the ridiculous ones and read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica A-Z. In this book he devotes his life to trying all sorts of diets and fitness regiments in an attempt to be his healthiest self. It's very entertaining and I'm learning some good tips.

I think that's a fairly good list. I have number goals but I don't want to share those. Maybe another time? Happy Hunger Games.