5 Things I Want You To Know About Choosing To Stay

I have wanted to write this post for a very long time. I’ve started it and pressed backspace, I’ve shut my computer in frustration and left this draft sitting here, unnamed, un-typed, for some time.

But I have a few things I need to say. Some people won’t like them. But I can’t ignore it any more.

Lately I feel like I scroll through my social media and see post after post explaining why the LDS church didn’t work out for people. Other posts are quoting sources and then explaining how horrible it is. They are calling what they see as manipulation and hate, unfairness and injustice. All about the most important thing in my life.

So here are a few words I need to get off my heart, about choosing to stay.

1. I don’t judge your journey. So many people feel that heavy judgment about leaving the church. I’m sure there are people who are judgmental about it. They may be the same people who are judgmental about me not serving a mission, or not yet having children. People aren’t perfect. In the LDS faith, or outside of it. I have no place to judge your decisions, and I don’t. There are lots of us who don’t judge your journey. I’m not always perfect at this, but please believe I do not strive to condemn you. I don’t think I’m better than you, and I love you!

2. I have questions too. My understanding isn’t perfect. Some things don’t make sense to me. For me, that’s ok. The things I don’t KNOW for certain, I believe. I hope. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” For me, that faith is something I’m working toward. So I may not have all the answers when we talk, but that doesn’t mean that the Gospel isn’t true.

3. I love you. Many people find the advances of others, invitations back, desires to discuss, rude and unnecessary. And sometimes they are. Please understand that for me, I approach you about it not because I’m worried you’ll go to Hell, but because the church brings me so much happiness. When you read your favorite book or see your favorite movie, you want to share it with others. You may find out it’s not to their liking at all, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to share it with them, to make them understand why you love it so much. That’s where I’m coming from, and where many members are coming from. We love the Gospel, and want to share that happiness it brings us. If it doesn’t bring you happiness, forgive us for continuing to talk about it. We’re doing the best we can.

4. I have had tests of faith too. I have had things that have rocked my testimony, have made me question and even doubt. For me, turning to the Lord and handing it over to him, continually doing the things that He asks, brought me peace and brought me back to happiness in the church. There were days and weeks that going to church seemed horrible. When I didn’t know if anyone would listen if I prayed. But He did, and He does.

5. There is room for everyone. The LDS Church culture can sometimes be difficult. The people are flawed, we make mistakes. We’re human. But the Gospel at its core, the doctrine and the scriptures and the reality of God, is perfect. And it’s personally perfect for every single person. That I can promise.

Women’s Conference Recap | Canyon Photos

This weekend consisted of being lazy, cleaning, hanging out with family, and of course the needed canyon drive with the new camera. 

I also got to go to dinner and watch the Women’s Broadcast with my amazing mom and sisters! Some of my favorite quotes were: 

“Faith comes to the humble, the diligent, the enduring. It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness.”

“The purpose of faith is not to change God’s will but to empower us to act on God’s will.”

”There are more ways to see than with our eyes, more ways to feel than with our hands, more ways to hear than with our ears.”

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

“The Master Healer can comfort and strengthen us when we experience pain because of the unrighteous actions of others.”

“Our faith in Jesus Christ enables us to meet any challenge.”

“Despite the conditions of our day, we have many reasons to rejoice and be cheerful.”

“Our obligation and privilege is to embrace improvement in everyone as we strive to be more like our Savior Jesus Christ.”

And here are some canyon pictures for you!

Peach Chicken Recipe

Most of the time I don’t feel super adventurous in the kitchen, but there are a few times when I take what we have a try making something! A while ago we had a peach that was going to go bad, and I needed to use it in our dinner. I whipped something up, and Randy and I love it! So here’s my recipe for Peach Chicken.

Peach Chicken
Serves two people
1 peach
2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken tenderloins
1 Tbs – 2 Tbs of brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon of soy
Creole seasoning to taste

Slice the peach and put it in a bowl with brown sugar. Mix it around so the brown sugar and peach juice form a sort of glaze. Cut chicken (if desired) and cover with creole seasoning, to the spiciness you prefer. Cook in frying pan over medium heat until brown. Then add soy sauce and continue cooking. When chicken is almost completely cooked through, add peaches. Cook until chicken is done, and peaches are hot and cooking.

$10 DIY Fall Wreath

I just decided tonight that I should make a fall wreath! I normally buy things like this, because I don’t consider myself very crafty. But I have to say, I’m super excited with how it turned out!

I bought a twig wreath, two sets of plain leaves, a more elaborate set of leaves that had a small pumpkin and acorns and such, and a plain letter L. All of these materials cost me exactly $9.46! I had a 40% off coupon for one of the items. but all in all it was SUCH an affordable project!

Check out the video to see how I put it all together!

Homecoming, State Fair, Farmer’s Market and Fall Walk

This weekend was pretty jam packed!

Friday Randy and I went straight from work to the State Fair with our friends. It was SO much fun! We ate a host of delicious things (corn dog, Cup Bop, poutine, and DEEP FRIED COOKIE DOUGH. which was amazing and don’t judge.) We saw animals, heard some crazy music, walked through some of the art submissions, and saw a sculpture made of butter. All of it was quite impressive! Our friend Alexon also won two GIANT Smurfs for winning some fair games, so we dragged them around during the whole night which was way fun!

Saturday we woke up and headed downtown to go to the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market. It was my beautiful bestie Courtney’s birthday, so we wandered around the market with them, ate some amazing Mediterranean food, had the best limeade I have EVER had, and chatted the afternoon away! After lunch, we went back to Kaysville to see my youngest sister off to homecoming! It was her first dance, and it was so awesome to help her get ready and see her off. It’s crazy to think that my baby sister is old enough to go to dances! She went with Jarem who our family loves, and it was fun to spend time with her getting all dolled up! Liv had just gotten her wisdom teeth out, and she joined the married CHOP OFF YOUR HAIR club, which was such a fun surprise!

Then we headed back to Salt Lake for a small birthday party for Courtney, then it was back home for some late night ramen and movies.

Sunday we went to church, then it was back to Kaysville again for a drive/walk in the beautiful mountains with my family, and dinner/frisbee with Randy’s family. We love living so close to family and getting to spend so much time with them! I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

| 23 |

It’s official! I’m 23. I will miss listening to T-Swift’s “22” but my birthday was absolutely wonderful!
It all started the day BEFORE my birthday, I came home from work to beautiful pink roses and Randy cooking dinner in our spotless house! I’m the luckiest! We ate curry, then went to one of my favorite places, The Chocolate, for a warm, gooey cazookie. Of course, we then went to TARGET to shop. Target is my absolute favorite place, and it was so sweet of Randy to take me there and let me wander and shop. 
The door of The Chocolate alone is perfect.
I wasn’t sure how Randy was going to top that night, but he then proceeded to blow me away on my birthday. Randy had homemade waffles and strawberries for me the second I woke up, on a tray delivered to bed! We then opened presents and Randy got me a Nikon D3200 Camera that I have been DYING for. I was SO excited. 
|sidebar about the camera|  the manufacturer sent us the WRONG LENS. So it’s not compatible with the camera body at all! So basically, we’re working with them to ship it back or exchange it or something. And I didn’t get any photos with the camera yet. But they are coming!!!
After getting ready for the day I headed to the office to work a half day, and this is what my desk looked like! My coworkers had treats and gifts for me too, they’re really the best! 
After Randy and I both finished working, we went shopping! We wandered around our favorite stores and Randy spoiled me ROTTEN.
Then it was time for a romantic dinner. We drove up Millcreek Canyon and admired how BEAUTIFUL it was, and snapped about a million pictures, and had dinner at Log Haven. Randy had bacon wrapped elk steak, and I had rabbit and pasta! It was SO good, such a beautiful setting, and all in all just a wonderfully romantic evening. 

After our wildly romantic dinner and dancing in the middle of the canyon road, we went home. There we stuck candles in macaroons (my favorite treat!) and recreated our “22” candles to make them work for the occasion.
We watched a movie I’d been wanting to see before heading to bed. I was completely spoiled with lots of love, phone calls, texts, and messages from my friends and family. I honestly felt spoiled rotten, especially by my amazing husband! 
Friday Randy and I went to a wedding and hung out with our friends, which was a blast.
Saturday entailed getting my nails done with Sarrie, which was super fun, Randy’s mission reunion, and then a fancy dinner with our friends! Randy and I watched part of the BYU game, then kept tabs on it during a very fancy dinner. I got so lucky in the friend department. It’s strange sometimes, my closest friends from high school now aren’t who I planned it might be, but I love and adore them all so much! 
We went to Cucina Toscana NOT expecting it to be so expensive! But they treated us SO well, even gave us some free appetizers and desserts, and we loved the food! Afterwards we finished watching the game (heartbreaker for my boys. but i will never stop loving the Cougs!) we played games and chatted until late into the night. #whitesquad
Sunday was family time, and we spent time with Randy’s family and they gave me the CUTEST Coach purse tag, and a gift card – they’re too sweet!
We then went and hung out with my family where my mom made my FAVORITE dinner, my sisters gave me the cutest gifts, and my extended family came to celebrate with chocolate cake! 
Thank you so much to everyone who made my birthday so wonderful. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the love I am lucky enough to have in my life. Thanks so much, here’s to making year 23 a great one!

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend was super relaxed and fun for us this year! It started by heading to the dollar theater to see Central Intelligence. It was a funny movie!

Saturday we went to Lagoon! It was SO much fun, we got there early and got on all the rides we wanted super quickly! We also went on the Sky Coaster which was amazing! It’s the HUGE bungee jumping type thing that lets you free-fall and then swing! We had so much fun. We went to lunch with Randy’s family to celebrate his dad’s birthday, which was awesome too!

Sunday we taught our church lesson, then headed back to Kaysville for the weekend. We celebrated Bethany’s birthday which was so fun, and sang Happy Birthday to Candace over FaceTime – and she started BAWLING. It was SO sad!

Monday we woke up and went up to the Ogden River Parkway for a fun family hike/walk and some frisbee! We had a blast – my family is so awesome and we all had so much fun!

Then we had a big dinner with all the extended family that live close by at the Mandarin in Bountiful, which is our very favorite Chinese food. It was wonderful to be with the whole family for the weekend!

Boston Travel Series – LAST DAY!

Our last day of Boston was wonderful, but it was so sad to be leaving! We woke up and walked with Ben and Kim to the Longfellow house, which ended up being one of our very favorite places we went!

The Longfellow House was first owned by a wealthy Loyalist family, who quickly abandoned it after the Revolutionary war started going on in full swing. The house then was occupied by George Washington during the Revolutionary War while he commanded his troops. After the war was over, the Craigie family bought the house. When Mr. Craigie died, his financial situation made it necessary for his wife to take in boarders to the house. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived in the house, until he later met his wife. Her parents then purchased the house for them to live in, they raised their family there until both of their deaths. It’s an absolutely beautiful house and it so amazing, Longfellow’s daughter knew her father was a famous poet, so upon his death she started preserving the house for a museum. There are things on his desk and tables and bookshelves that were exactly where he left them. They haven’t been touched again at all. The house is full of beautiful things, remembrances of George Washington and his time there, and all the owners of the home before the Longfellows. Randy and I were absolutely blown away by it, and all the stories. They were also celebrating the National Parks 100th birthday, and because the home is a national monument they were having a birthday party! It was really cool to be there on such a historic day.

We met up with Ben and Kim and went to Tasty Burger, which Randy and I both agreed was on par with, if not better than Shake Shack. BUT Shake Shack does have superior ice cream, so of course we had to stop there after for one last shake. After that we packed our things, played with Candace, and then got in the car to go home. It was bittersweet, we were excited to get back to our own home, but so sad to be leaving such a wonderful city!

Our flight home was a little crazy, but we made it back with souvenirs and a suitcase full of exhaustion.

Boston was amazing, and is a vacation spot I would go back to again and again!

Can’t wait to see where our travels take us next!

Blurry photo of SLC from above!

Boston Travel Series – Day 6

Wednesday in Boston was BUSY.

We started the day by stopping at Starbucks for a frap, and then Insomnia Cookies again, since we’d gotten a free cookie coupon. The cookies weren’t even out of the oven yet so we got hot, gooey cookies and it was amazing.

We got on the T and switched trains a couple times to get to the Boston Museum of Fine Art. We were bummed that we’d totally figured out the subway system, and were leaving the next day!

The Museum of Fine Art is, in a word, spectacular.

*Travel Tip – if you love art, spend some time researching what’s at the museum before you go! I made the mistake of thinking I would remember and was PAINFULLY mistaken! We had an awesome time still, but I wish we had looked through our old Art History book before hand and read up on the pieces there, and some of the vocabulary and artists. Huge shout out to Mr. Orem for instilling that love of art in both of us!

I had been to this museum before, but you can never see enough, and coming with Randy was magical. I can’t even go over everything we saw or how awesome it all was, so here are a few of the highlights:

Roman statues, Egyptian mummies and works of art, Greek statues and art (fresco secco and all!) rooms that exactly resemble real rooms in homes from the 1600s and 1700s, Watson And The Shark, Paul Revere, George Washington, dozens of John Singer Sargent works, a work by El Grecco, An entire floor of impressionists (think Cezanne, Gaugin, Renoir, Degas…) the Little Dancer by Degas (an original, not a copy) and an entire room dedicated to Monet, Pollock, Fredia Khalo, entire rooms of Italian artists (Rembrandt, Titan, etc.)

Basically it was everything. Randy and I were there from the moment it opened and spent almost 4 hours wandering until our feet hurt. There is SO much to see, I wish we had split it up into two days!

We hopped back on a train and went to the North End for a delicious pasta and seafood lunch.

We then headed over to the Boston Tea Party boat and museum. This was one of our favorite things! *Travel Tip – this museum is PRICEY. It was worth it to go once, and it’s fun for both kids and adults, but not completely necessary if you’re on a tight budget.

We were given the name of an individual who was at the Boston Tea Party to represent, we were given feathers to show that the colonists dressed in disguises to keep their identities hidden. We participated in the town meeting, went onto the boat, threw the packages into the sea, and even saw an actual crate that was thrown into the sea during the Boston Tea Part! We then watched a movie where they said that Lexington was the place of the shot heard ’round the world! SO we decided to agree that Lexington was the place haha – such a funny back and forth during our whole trip.

After the Tea Party Boat we walked back towards the harbor and then wandered in the Financial District. Randy and I love big cities so it was so awesome to walk around and explore. It’s even more cool when EVERY corner has a historical meaning!

We walked past a really beautiful, huge building and we wanted to know what it was! A plaque on the outside told us it used to be the Custom House, and we wanted to peek inside. It’s now a hotel and it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL. We just walked on in and went up to the second floor where there were paintings and a giant rotunda. It was awesome!

We then of course had to head back to Primark for some last minute grabs.

We then wandered through the parks back to the North End, watching street performers, and ended our night at Modern Bakery where we got some cannoli and cake. *Travel Tip – The best cannoli was from Modern Bakery in my opinion.

We sat in a beautiful park overlooking the city until it started to get dark. We didn’t want to leave, so we just sat and looked and were a little sad but mostly so happy we had the chance to go at all!

We watched the sunset, then hopped on a train and went back to Cambridge for the night, had more fun chats with Ben and Kim and went to sleep very happy campers!

Boston Travel Series – Day 5

Day 5 of our Boston trip was one of our favorite days! We woke up and went with Ben and Kim to Harvard and had the grand tour. We saw the law library which is HUGE and so beautiful. We went up to one of the floors and could see the whole campus, they also have a museum inside the library with some rare books and paintings, which was really cool.

We walked the Harvard Yard and all the freshmen were arriving that day, which was so fun to see! We went to the regular library and learned about the family that donated the library, basically the story is that the father and son drowned on the Titanic, so the mom donated all their books and built the library, but required the school to never change it and to have an office with fresh flowers for her dead husband. You walk in the library and see the huge marble pillars and the office, with fresh flowers on the table, and it’s really incredible. It was one of Randy and my favorite things that we did in Boston!

We also saw the freshman dining hall, which looks like Hogwarts! People who aren’t freshmen are NOT allowed inside. So we went into the chapel where they have memorials to all the students of Harvard who died in different wars. It’s so beautiful inside!

We also saw the famous statue, it’s like the 3rd most photographed statue in the world! The students go and rub his toe, so it’s rubbed gold!

We also walked through an exhibit on the Harvard Lampoon, the satirical magazine (somewhat like The Onion). It was SO cool to see who was involved with the magazine in the past, including John Adams, etc. And to see what kinds of things they satirized and how far they’ve come! Ben had some awesome stories to tell us all over the campus and we got lucky to have such awesome tour guides.

We then walked to Insomnia Cookies, which was delightful. And then we went and had Japanese ramen. It was SO good, and fun to hear the Japanese and see Ben and Randy both understand it!

We walked to the Harvard Store and saw all the freshmen there buying merchandise. It was SO busy and reminded me so much of the BYU bookstore! It was way cool.

Then because we hadn’t eaten enough yet, went stopped by JP Licks for some ice cream which was delightful! We walked through the campus with our ice cream for a bit, and it was so much fun!

Ben then took us through the Harvard Art Museum while Kim and Candace went home for a nap. The Harvard Art Museum is really awesome! There are works by Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, Japanese Art, etc. It was awesome to walk through and see artists that Randy and I have studied, and go through with my brother and geek out over artists together!

We walked back to the apartment and just hung out for a while, and then Ben and Kim went to a movie and we got to babysit!

We fed Candace and ourselves, played with lots of toys, read books and did things like this….


basically I’m stoked for when we have kids of our own to play around with.

Ben and Kim got home, we put the baby to bed, discussed at length the pros and cons of Star Trek, watched the Olympics and played games.

It was such a fun day, and hanging out with Candace, Ben and Kim was seriously such a blast!