Dear College Grads

Today is graduation at BYU and I must say, it’s got me a bit nostalgic.

It’s so strange to me that one year ago, I was taking pictures with Randy, wearing my little cap and gown, huddled in the back of the de Jong Concert Hall waiting for my turn to walk.

I didn’t trip. I smiled at the Dean and other professors, giving big grins to my favorite ones, and it was done. I opened the folder with a faux diploma inside (the real one is mailed a few days later), snapped a couple pictures, and that was it. Three intense years of college, fast tracked and stressful, and I was done.

I’ve had lots of people ask me how I got done so fast, so here’s the short answer: lots of AP credit, consolidating generals and other classes whenever and however possible, staying for the summer, taking full class loads, and a lot of work.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

So now I’ve been out in the real world for a year.

So here’s a little note to my dear friends who are graduating today, or next week, or next month.

The learning hasn’t stopped.

There were quite a few things that college didn’t prepare me for. The routine of an every day job, the aspects of my job that I’ve spent many late nights researching and getting better at, purchasing a car, applying for another credit card, going over my taxes with my accountant, preparing to open an LLC, researching graduate schools (that’s still in process, I haven’t settled on anything yet), coming home after a ten hour work day to an absolute mess of a house and knowing that I have to wake up and do it all again in just a few hours, no changing of the schedule after just a few months, no summers of sleeping in until 11:00 or taking off Friday at 2:00 for an early weekend, the long hours of meetings when I have SO much work to do at my desk, making small talk with the CEO in the elevator as we watch the numbers go by, adjusting to added job responsibilities, taking on more work as people leave the company, being in on job interviews for a new person who I’ll spend most of my day with, finding the balance of when to stop bringing work home, learning to say no to another freelance opportunity because I’m already too busy, deciding if I NEED that or WANT it, going over stock and retirement options, immersing myself in an unfamiliar industry and really learning every aspect of it, learning the proper way to tell a vendor that they are absolutely out of line, teaching new employee orientation once a month, negotiating salaries, popping back into KSL to do some on-call work when I haven’t been in there in months – and having to do it correctly right then, deadlines of a product that doesn’t just mean a grade but means losing lots of money for the company if it doesn’t work right, switching managers and having to readjust to someone else’s management style…I could go on even longer.

The point is this: graduation is a huge step, but it’s not a last step. It’s a first step. A first step into the rest of your life. The life where you can’t stay up until 2:00 AM every night because you can’t skip work like you could class. The life where your group projects aren’t just a three week thing. The life where cramming for a presentation the night before doesn’t really cut it. The life of 9-5 work instead of shifts whenever they need you,

It’s so rewarding and wonderful. And I’m SO lucky that I’ve been able to spend the last year at a company that I love, doing a job that challenges me every single day. A job where the people are so wonderful, and make me enjoy coming to work (most days).

So my friends that are graduating, congratulations! This is a major day in your life, and I hope you remember it forever. I hope you always want to keep learning, and are so excited for the road ahead. The door is open and the possibilities are right in front of you!

Happy Graduation!

Spring Just Keeps Trying

Again, here’s a lil’ update on what’s been up with the Lows lately:

Friday, Randy and I took off to Sixth and Pine for dinner to celebrate him doing FANTASTIC on a math test. Guys, he’s so smart it’s ridiculous.

Saturday was for sleeping in and then driving to Provo where I shopped with my mom and sisters, which was a blast. It’s SO much fun to spend time with those lovely ladies!

Sunday was another day of teaching and a Sunday walk, catching up on reading and spending time together.

So the world keeps on just rushing by and sometimes you can’t really catch your breath because there are too many things to fill your lungs and brain and heart.

I want to do so many things and don’t have the time but then I catch myself spending time on the things I don’t need to do, but also I should do, and the cycle goes on and on.

The point is that sometimes we all need to take a breath.

A to-do list doesn’t mean you have a full life.

Saying no is a viable and important option.

Spending time doing things that you want to do is just as important as manning up, and doing the things you don’t want to do.

Also, take a look at Mother Nature here. Throwing confetti to celebrate the start of spring, just like the rest of us.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

General Conference – Some Things Can Only Be Learned By Faith

I see a theme occurring.

I forget to take pictures ALL THE TIME GUYS.

This past weekend was no exception.

So I will give you a brief outline, and then some General Conference highlights.

Randy and I have had a rough couple of weeks. A traumatic incident with one of our close friends has left us a little jumpy, very busy, constantly dropping things to take calls and visits, and busy this week with a funeral.

General Conference couldn’t have come at a more ideal time.

So Friday night Randy and I had some April Fools shenanigans, then we did boring adult things like grocery shopping and spent the evening relaxing and unwinding.

Saturday we had breakfast with Caleb and Nanette while we watched the first session of conference, then it was off to home for the weekend to watch the rest of the sessions, and do lots of family laughing and game playing.

Here are some of my favorite thoughts from Conference this year.

Let me just leave you with this. I know some people who are struggling, who are unsure of their testimony, unsure of their God and this church. If that’s you, please know that I love you and I respect you, and I want you to be happy. 
Elder Oaks said in this conference that “Some things can only be learned by faith” 
There are quite a few things that don’t make sense to me. There are things that I have questions about. I study those questions, I ask God and I ask teachers and leaders. But the most important thing that any of us can do is have faith. When the Provo City Center Temple was dedicated, the temple president told a story of his deaf father, and how when he went through the temple to do his endowment, he couldn’t hear a word. He didn’t understand what the endowment was, because they had no way to interpret it for him. YEARS later, he finally read the words of the endowment for the first time. 
He didn’t understand. He had literally no clue what was going on in the temple. But he still went, faithfully. He still believed. 
Sometimes we are asked to walk down a path where things are uncertain, even impossible to understand. For me, the best practice has been to “hold fast to what [I] already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes”
Some things can only be learned, comprehended, and understood by faith. That’s the whole point. 

Easter Shenanigans

Easter came and went in the blink of an eye!

Randy and I got to spend the holiday with our families which was really fun.

Saturday I headed off to a bridal shower, and Randy got to spend time with his family. The evening held dinner with my mom and sisters and then the General Women’s session, then visiting with family, and coloring Easter eggs! (and the Richards signature Egg Technicolor Show)

Easter Morning was Easter baskets, egg hunts, and some time learning about the Atonement.

In church my family sang/played with the choir which was fun to see! We then had a fantastic Easter feast with the fam.

Getting pictures is sometimes a struggle. So enjoy these ones!

Then it was off to the Lows for another amazing Easter dinner, some games and lots of laughs.

I can’t express enough how much the Atonement means to me. It’s the reason I can wake up in the morning. It’s the reason I can live and love and have any hope for tomorrow.

He is my best friend. He is my Savior. He is my older brother. He is the reason. And He is risen.

In other huge news, Randy and I are adding to our family! We welcomed a brand new baby car into our hearts this week, and have lovingly named him Friar Tuck (if you didn’t know, the Richards have a tradition of naming cars, computers, phones, etc. after Disney characters. Our other car is Edna Mode, my phone is Sven, we’ve had The Beast, Jasmine, all the 7 dwarfs, and the list goes on)

I’ve been a little MIA this week as some really hard things have happened to a very close friend of ours. Though it’s been very scary and hard, it has 100% strengthened my testimony of the Atonement. God is real. And there is NOTHING that we have gone through or will go through that Jesus Christ doesn’t perfectly understand, or that he didn’t atone for. We are covered. We can be whole, through him