Hiking turns to city strolling

Randy and I spent the weekend adventuring again – so while I’m in the middle of writing a billion other posts, I need to get caught up on life happening now. Don’t worry, the whole love story, the wedding, and a college post are coming! 
We went with my family to Silver Lake and it was fantastic! A great hike, and a great time to spend hanging out with my family. The views were breathtaking and the lake itself was pretty awesome! 
We then decided to head to Park City for the afternoon/evening. It’s about 20 minutes from our house, we love strolling around all the little shops, plus we wanted to get some fun trips in before Randy starts school next week. we popped by our favorite Banksy (with sad smashed glass now. some people just don’t get it.) We also stopped by some other art galleries and saw works by Dr. Seuss, Rembrandt, Cassat, and Picasso. What an awesome day for art!
We had a late lunch/early dinner at this amazing Brazilian eatery called The Bridge. I would HIGHLY recommend it! I wish we had taken pictures, the food was so amazing! Then we swung by Java Cow for an ice cream cone to share, which was too good not to recommend. 
We then spoke in church on Sunday, which was quite an adventure! My name was printed “Amanda” in the program, which we laughed about for a good five minutes on the stand. It was awesome to get to speak about prayer in our new ward, and get to introduce ourselves. I’ve been writing a cute ward introduction in my head for about 3 years now, so it was awesome to finally be able to deliver it in real life! 
And yesterday, this happened. I’m not sure how my little sister is old enough to be going to BYU. My mom and I spent the day helping her move in, get groceries, etc. It was soooo nostalgic to be back in the Heritage Dorms, and I’m so excited for the awesome years she has ahead (like I said, more on this to come.)
All in all, it was an amazing weekend and has been a great week so far. I’m so sad summer is winding down, but I am SO excited for fall, and to spend the holiday season with Randy as my husband! Should be absolutely delightful.
Happy Wednesday everyone! 

On Your First Day of High School

This post is directed at my darling sister and her friends who have just started their high school adventure.

Dear High School Newbies,

It’s a big day! The first day of the next few years of your life. Some of you are nervous, others of you act like you aren’t, but really are, and still others of you think you run the world. All of these are fairly normal responses, and will probably stick around for the next few weeks while you adjust to your new routine.

No matter how you’re feeling, there are some things you should know. Things that I wish I would’ve known going into high school. So take what you will, and enjoy the days and weeks ahead.

1. School comes first. There are dozens of extra-curricular’s to choose from. So many of you already sing, play piano, do sports, dance, act, etc. and these are all good things. It’s important to get involved with these groups, to find out what you like and are good out. But, school needs to come first. These grades, this learning, it’s what will propel your career forward and help you in adult life. Basketball or cheerleading may be fun, but most likely it won’t be what you major in at college and won’t be the way you earn a living later in life. So find a subject you enjoy, spend time in those classes, study, do your homework, and really learn. After all, that’s the real reason you’re in school at all.

2. Choose your friends carefully. Unfortunately, high school is the time when some of your friends will start, or even continue, making not so great decisions. Don’t let other people drag you down. And definitely don’t be the one dragging other people down. If your friends aren’t making good choices, and want you to join in, then they aren’t really your friends. Real friends are the ones who help you want to be better.

3. Get to know your teachers. They will help you apply for college, figure out what your path is in life, and be at your wedding someday. Don’t decide your teachers are lame or stupid, actually listen to them and let them help you. I guarantee they will be helpful and can make or break your high school experience.

4. Spend time with family. Your friends are awesome. But I promise once you move to college, even more than missing your friends, you’ll miss your family. Spend time with them while you can. I promise if you take one night a week to really be present with your family, not spending the whole time texting or wishing you were somewhere else, your parents will be happier, and so will you.

5. Speaking of technology, spend some time away from it! Do your homework without the phone interruption. Spend a little less time on facebook and more time actually talking to real people. Everyone tells you this, I know. And I should probably take some of that advice myself. But unfortunately, more and more we are learning how younger generations really can’t communicate face to face at all. Once you get to college or get a job, that’s not going to work out for you. So practice now!

6. Decide now how you want people to remember you. In 5 years when people see you pop up on social media, do you want them to say “Oh yeah, she was really popular.” Or “Oh yeah, he was kind of a player back then.” People will remember how you were in high school, and it can come back to bite you. There are some people that I saw again in college, and was haunted by how unkind I had been to them in high school. You want people to always be able to say, “Yeah she was really funny and nice.” Or “Wasn’t he the guy that bought all the girls candy on Valentine’s Day?” Being nice is the best way to be remembered, and if you’re not, people won’t remember how pretty you were or how good at sports you were, just that you weren’t a nice person. And that’s too bad.

7. Everyone feels alone, left out, or sad. You’re not the only one who feels like this. High school can be rough. The people around you can be so mean. You’ve seen it a million times on a million movies and TV shows. First of all, don’t be the mean person who is making everyone around you miserable. Second of all, realize that everyone is going to have bad days too. Be one of the people who turns bad days to good.

8. Enjoy. This is so cliche, but it’s true. High school can be so wonderful. It can also be painful, hard, disappointing, and something you never want to go back to. High school for me is a time full of fond memories. Although it wasn’t perfect, it was still holds some of my most precious moments. Stop caring so much what the people around you think, and start being more confident in yourself. Start being you all the time, not just when you’re alone in your room. Be confident, kind, and 100% authentic. That’s a rare thing to find in high school, and if you do it you’ll stand out like a diamond.

So my dear friends, enjoy your time in high school. Decide now how your experience is going to go, and who you’re going to be. And then buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Happy Monday and happy first day of school!

They’re Calling Me A TBM

I’d never heard the term TBM until just a few days ago. I guess that might make me ignorant.

TBM can sometimes mean Totally Brainwashed Mormon*, while most of the time it means True Believing Mormon, and it’s a term that I’ve been reading about myself quite a bit over the past few days.

See, I wrote an article about a year ago. Some of you have probably read it. It’s called “10 Things Girls Who Aren’t Serving Missions Want You To Know.”

I’m really proud of this article. I finally got to put into words what I, and so many people that I love, had been feeling.

After I posted it, I was shocked at the response. Thousands of views, hundreds of comments, repost after repost. And I was still proud. Because I felt like this was something people needed to hear, and understand.

Negative comments came flooding in. I was called selfish, egotistical, not worthy to serve a mission, against the church, among other things. I was still proud of that post. My goal wasn’t to voice my own anger, insecurity, or issues. My goal was to help others see the journey I had gone through, and how they maybe could help lessen the problem for others. Not everyone understood that, and that’s ok. People are entitled to their opinions.

In the past few days, that post has again begun popping up. I’m glad to be getting more notes of “thank you” and “this explained my feelings perfectly.” I love knowing that my experience isn’t just mine, that maybe part of the reason I went through what I did was so I could help other people.

I was looking through where some of these people were getting referred to my blog. I found a few forums that had posted the blog for discussion. And that’s where I saw it. The TBM. Nobody had a problem with my post really, just were saying that “the shame in the LDS church is horrible” and “too bad this TBM won’t leave” or “if this post was about men, it would be anti-Mormon.” No disrespect to those forums, or to anyone in particular.

I just want to clear the air about why I post what I do.

I wouldn’t say I’m a Totally Brainwashed Mormon. But I would say I’m Totally a Mormon. My post about missions didn’t stem from an issue with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, revelation from prophets about a lower age change, or even God himself. It came from my experiences with my own questions, my route to revelation, and the comments I heard and saw around me. Comments from imperfect people, just like me. I’m quite positive I’ve said offensive things. And so have you. 

*I’ve had lots of people tell me that I’m trying to play into a persecution type of role, that I am making things worse for myself, etc. Let’s be clear here; I’m not trying to say I’m persecuted. I don’t feel that way at all. I do feel, however, that as a member of the Church who strongly believes in its teachings, I should set the record straight that with my mission post, I wasn’t trying to boycott the LDS church, its teaching, its leaders, or anything of that nature. This is simply a post to stipulate that my issue is with LDS culture, not the church itself. 

I’m not brainwashed, though I’m sure many would like to believe I am. I am a person who loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ with every ounce of me, because I choose to. Every, single day I wake up and choose to continue living this. Not because I have to, but because I want to. 

The people in the Church aren’t perfect. But the Gospel itself, is perfect. Jesus Christ is perfect. And this is His Church. It’s full of people who are trying. And I wanted to bring attention to a cultural subject that people might not have realized, so we all could continue to try to be more like our perfect older brother.

So I’m glad I found my post on various types of forums and on social media. I’m glad the issue is out in the open, so we can all discuss it. I love how the attention on how we talk about modesty in the Church is changing that discussion. The LDS culture is one that is ever-evolving. The Gospel itself is not.

So my hope is that people who read my mission post, remember this about me: that I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with all that I am. I believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and is leading the church in the way God wants it to be lead. I don’t question his revelations, and nothing about my beliefs on mission-culture in the church are against his revelations. This church is true. That’s all there is to it really. Do I think there are some things we can all work on? Yes. Does that make the church any less true, real, or right? Absolutely not. 

So thank you for your kind responses, suggestions, discussions, etc. It means more to me than you know that the discussion is open. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

*I was recently told by several friends that TBM is more normally used to mean True Believing Mormon. More positive acronym! When I saw Totally Brainwashed Mormon in one of the forums, I assumed that’s what the acronym meant all around. Hopefully others used it in the more positive way! Thanks for correcting me friends! 

The 13th

To start out this post, let’s just go over our weekend. Friday night we helped our friend Haley and her husband Daniel move into their new apartment! It was a good night of chatting and unpacking and food! Saturday was a CRAZY day. We drove to Payson to be at our friends Vanessa and Chris’s sealing. It was so amazing. We loved being in that beautiful temple and hearing the words of the sealing. It reminded us of our own wedding and was such an incredible time. We then stayed at the temple to do an endowment session, and that was incredible.

We then hit up Vanessa and Chris’s reception, and then our friends’ Kara and Silas’s reception. It was a great day full of happiness and weddings and so much love. It was also one of my favorite couples in the world’s anniversary! My mom and dad are incredible, and I am so lucky that they met each other, fell in love, and decided to make it forever. They are a wonderful example of marriage to me, and I’m so blessed to learn from the best.

And speaking of anniversaries…..Randy and I celebrated 4 years of dating on Thursday. We have celebrated the 13th for years now, and it was so wonderful to celebrate together, married this year.

So in honor of 4 years, we headed to Takashi Sushi in SLC. It was SOOOO good. Best sushi I’ve had in Utah. Randy is a little spoiled sushi-wise (that’s what going to Japan will do to you) but even he said it was good! We hit up our friend Meg Storey’s reception after that, celebrated some love and then spent some time with my family.

Now, in honor of our first 13th together, I’m going to post the entire story. The whole she-bang. And Randy is going to help. Buckle up kids. It’s the next post.

the weekenders

This last weekend was fulllll of adventures! Summer is winding down and Randy will be back in school before I know it. SO we are making every moment count. Hence the weekend filled to the brim with fun. 
First we joined the Tour de Utah. JK. 

We were biking around on our cute little SLC Green Bikes while the Tour de Utah FLEW past us. It was such a fun adventure! The curry we had for dinner didn’t even make pedaling through the city less fun. 
We were walking around Temple Square and ran into a guy in Randy’s parent’s ward! We chatted and then he ran us down to see Meet the Mormons at the Legacy Theater. We hadn’t seen it and it was AWESOME!

Pause for a second. Can I just say how much I love the city? We walked back to my office/the car in the rain after the movie and let me tell you, it was wonderful. There are some crazies that hang out downtown and it can be an intimidating place for sure, but I love that my office on 4th and Main gives me the chance to spend lots of time here. I love finding restaurants, free activities, riding the train and knowing the stops by name. It’s truly a dream come true for me.

So after a night in the city on Friday, we decided to do the opposite on Saturday. We hiked up to Cecret Lake, and it was AMAZING. I love that living where we live means time in the city and up in the mountains all in one weekend. What a great place to live! 

He picked a couple flowers for me. SHHHH.

We ended our Saturday with Midvale Harvest days which was so fun! Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band were the stars of the show and they are a hoot. We headed back to our apartment just in time to see the fireworks over the city. We LOVE Midvale.
Sunday was spent at church, and then down in K-Town with family. We got to have lunch with my family, and dinner with Randy’s! How lucky are we? 
But really, I feel so so lucky. More so every day. I have a husband that I adore, we live in a place that I love, I have a job that rocks, amazing family, the list goes on and on. Thanks to every single one of YOU who brighten my life.
Happy Wednesday!


Enjoy that why don’t ya.

Randy and I went to our Ward Luau the other day and it was soooo fun. Our ward is awesome and we love hanging out with all the great people in it.

Here’s a quick story for you

The other night we had one of Randy’s mission buddies over, along with a couple of our good high school friends. We ordered pizza with Randy’s buddy before the other girls got there, and as our pizza got delivered, our next door neighbor poked her cute head out to see what the noise was. We quickly invited her over for dinner, which she protested, but finally we got her to agree to come over. What followed was an hour of pizza, and talking about the Church. Our neighbor isn’t a member of the Church, but had learned about it extensively in her time living in Utah.

The conversation came up when she looked at our wall, and saw our wedding pictures in front of the temple. She asked if we’d been sealed, and we told her yes. She went on to tell us how much she loved the Law of Chastity, which I had never, ever thought about before. She said she loved that in our belief, you knew if someone really loved you because they were willing to wait for you. Then the three of us there went around and talked about how much we loved the Law of Chastity, the temple, and the knowledge we have that families are forever.

There was a moment when I looked around at my husband, our friend, and this wonderful neighbor. I almost started crying. Missionary moments are not just for missionaries. They’re for every single one of us. And that moment showed me again how useful each one of us can be to this gospel, no matter where we live.

Who knows what will happen with our neighbor. But I know one thing for sure. She told us this herself. That when people she knows talk about how weird our church is, she defends it. Because hopefully, she can see through Randy and I and any other people that she encounters, that we are good people. Who love God. And everyone around us. I hope when she remembers her young newlywed next door neighbors, she remembers how much we love her, and how much we love the Gospel.

Now I’m off for a weekend full of relaxation and fun! Happy Friday everyone!