Bring it on, 2015 [insert flexed arm emoji here]

Happy happy new year, friends!

I hope you had a lovely holiday and that your New Years was as exciting as the media tells you it should be. I did a puzzle. It was clearly really wild....

So let's chat about resolutions for a minute. I'm not a huge New Year's Resolutions kind of girl. There's some kind of unspoken pressure that usually comes with resolutions. All the resolutions I have ever made have felt like there's more at stake than just a normal goal or aspiration, which I suppose could be a good thing, but it just feels like a lot of work to me. And emotional stress. Breaking a resolution has always felt like a last-chance kind of scenario, usually accompanied with a thought like, "Well, I guess there's always next year." But a year is a long time to wait for another short-lived second (or third or fourth or fifth) try. 

That being said, I do think it's a great time to reflect on life - where we're at, who we're with, what we're doing, how much we love it (or hate it) and what it is that we could maybe work on to change our trajectory. And at least for me, it feels more natural (AKA: realistic and attainable) to locate the stresses and concerns in my life and then determine what small things I can do to eliminate those, or to accomplish the goals that are maybe associated with them.

I'll offer an example: I would like to be more financially independent in 2015. Now before you all go get your tar and feathers ready, I need to express my gratitude for my situation. No, I do not pay for all of my expenses myself. Yes, that is an incredible blessing and not everyone is this lucky. Sure, I haven't learned things the hard way (as maybe you kicked-out-of-the-house-at-18 folks have) and I realize the disadvantage I may be at at the ripe old age (haha!) of 23 having never had to fend for myself. But I want to note that I never want to mooch off my parents. I am extremely lucky to be in the situation I am in, although it's not exactly paved with gold and lined with expensive cheesecakes (I don't like caviar...) as you are probably imagining. ANYWAY, I digress. The point is, I have this deep desire to be more financially independent. And I don't think that's exactly a "resolution," as this kind of goal or aspiration is a life-changing one that will affect more than just this next year. So in my mind, I broke it down to extremely realistic alterations I can do to my lifestyle.

1. Only use my parents' card/money for gas and groceries (from an actual grocery store)
2. Celebrate/enforce what I'm calling No-Clothes-January (which I realize is more of a short term thing, but I buy sooooo many clothes. I don't know how it happens - I swear.)
3. Put at least 10% of each paycheck into my checking account when I deposit them
4. Any and all meals that I buy from restaurants MUST be paid for by me and only me. (which is implied with number one, but it's something I need to strategically remember) Of course, if you want to take me out for a nice date, I wouldn't mind allowing you to pay for my dinner. But that hasn't happened in years, so I'm not too concerned.

And that's about it. Short and sweet, but totally doable. I have already noticed a cut back in my desire to spend, as well as an increase in my desire to cook my own meals, etc. Which is honestly huge, because when am I NOT craving a Hires Country H cheeseburger, or Chinese take out. Right? Right.

What are some of the things that you want to implement or exclude from your life? And what has worked well for you in past years? I hope 2015 is full of learning and growth, and maybe a few successes. :)

Here are a few pictures from the Holidays in Oregon! It was so beautiful, and SO COLD. 

My awesome sister and I in the middle of an all-day blizzard. 

The view from my jog around Sunriver. 

My favorite dog of all time, Patches. She is SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD, y'all. This is her sitting on me as I'm packing to leave.

This photo represents what was probably my favorite place/moment from the whole trip. Tea time with sister. ❤️👭

The fortune I got on New Years' Eve. We all had a good laugh. 

My sister's cute little condo that we finally got to see in person and enjoy. Can't wait until next time!


Some Christmas Thoughts, from me to you

The big week has finally arrived! Christmas is in the air! The kids are out of school, we're saying our final prayers for snow, and there are freshly baked cookies on the kitchen counter, or at least there are in our dreams. But there is also a surplus of RUDE drivers on the road, angry people in line to buy so much STUFF and THINGS, and I think most of us feel some level of holiday guilt. And that just sucks, doesn't it? 

It's the part of the holidays that no one really talks about. Is it because we think no one else can feel it? Surely, I'm just being a Scrooge. Or maybe we hope that it if we pretend it's not there, it will just slip away in the night. Sometimes, I think we want so badly to experience the happiness and joy depicted in holiday commercials and movies and books and engagement pictures and Christmas letters and ANYTHING ELSE, that we try to fake it 'til we make it. To join the cookie bakers and the Secret Santa-ers, the shoppers and the soup kitchen volunteers, the decorators and the party hosts. While those are all really wonderful and beautiful traditions, I think it's important to say that not feeling that commercialized Christmas Spirit and not wanting to do these things does not make you a bad person. 

Surrounded by so much nostalgia, we can't help but feel a flood of memories at Christmas time. Because this is REAL LIFE, and real life can be sad, lonely and unfair, it's not always going to bring to the surface that one memory of your favorite Christmas morning when you were 9. And in adulthood, even the happiest memories bring a certain sense of reverence and sadness, because after all, they are memories. They're in the past, not the future. People pass away, relationships end, jobs are lost, and childhoods expire. And no matter how badly we may wish to go back and relive those precious moments, we can't. 

This is the part where I should probably say, "and this is why we must make new memories!" Which I do believe to be true, but instead, I want to say this: it is for all of these depressive and even debilitating thoughts and feelings that a Savior was born. In a humble manger, surrounded by nothing but animals and straw, a beautiful young woman, Mary, brought our Heavenly Father's Only Begotten Son into this mortal world. Without this birth of our brother, Jesus Christ, the most important event that ever did and ever will take place on this earth would not have happened. The Atonement - Christ's suffering for our sins, afflictions, sicknesses, injustices, and heartbreaks - is the only thing that can truly heal our hearts this Christmas, next Christmas, and all 365 days in between. If we allow Him, He will lift us up and carry us through our trials of faith. All He asks is that we live our lives as He did - serving, loving, and putting God's will for us ahead of the agendas we make for ourselves. In what is often a season of incredible heartache and pain, we are in an incredible position to best celebrate and utilize the healing and enabling powers of Christ's Atonement. 

My prayer this year is that you and I will stop comparing everyone else's best to our worst. That we will forget - if for just a minute - about masking our emotions with cookies and presents (which I love - don't misunderstand me!) and focus on our brother, advocate, and friend, Jesus Christ. That amid our inevitable afflictions, we can find hope and light, and a reason to smile. That is what Christmas is really about, y'all. Because of Christmas, my broken heart can and will be made whole. And that is beautiful. 


2014 in a Nutshell

One the most personally disappointing things about not having kept up with this blog is the "What I learned this year" list I used to make. I've been meaning to keep up with at least those, which I made a couple times at the end of a school year. They're so awesome to look back on and relive moments (both happy and sad) from those years. But now that the end of the year is approaching, and it's been a whole year since I graduated from college (WHAT?!), I think there's no better time to make a new list than right now. So here we go.

The Things I have Learned in my First Year as an Official College Graduate

1. Things are no more glamorous now than they were before. If anything, they're much much less glamorous. I feel even poorer now that I'm employed than I did as a "poor college student." And maybe I pictured graduates as suddenly having more perks or something, but that's definitely not the case. #economyproblems #teacherproblems
2. A degree also doesn't help you get more dates. It feels quite the opposite. I don't see men ever anytime anywhere and haven't met a new man in what basically feels like years. At least in the music building, cute new 18 year-olds would show up and I could "meet" them. Which really just turned into "mothering" them. Anyway, I digress. But I think I'm overeducated now for jobs AND dates.
3. I may be a plant killer, but I can keep a cat alive. And maybe even happy. 
4. I can run! I may not be very good at it, but I can do it. I ran a 10K this year, and I may have basically finished last, but I finished - and honestly enjoyed it. The secret is in the playlist. And really liking the color of your shoes. 
5. I'm a good cook! The idea of cooking without a recipe has always terrified me, but sometime in the last several months, I realized that I tend to veer from the recipe anyway. But it always comes out really well! I don't know where I learned any of my cooking tricks (besides the few basics from my mom), but I'm not half bad. That being said, don't look for me on Chopped or Cupcake Wars anytime soon. 
6. This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a big step and receive my endowments. I have always loved the temple, but I've been feeling like the time to take that step was fast approaching. The day was really great, of course, but the best part of it has been all the blessings and opportunities that have come because of it. When I went through, I knew that I wasn't really going for myself or for the one day - I knew that I was going so that I could continue to go often, be able to personally stand in place of my family members and ancestors in those ordinances, and also support my friends in their own journeys to the temple. And that is exactly what I have experienced. It has been so wonderful to attend one of my best friends' temple sealings, do the work for countless grandmothers, aunts, and cousins, and to truly find a peaceful sense of belonging within the temple walls. My Patriarchal Blessing encourages me to make the temple my home away from home, and I can honestly say that I have worked towards and felt that this year.
7. You've Got Mail is the movie of all movies for me. My love for that movie has increased like crazy this year. I don't know why, but I regret nothing. I too love New York in the fall and believe in going to the mattresses, although sometimes it IS personal, and not business. Sorry, Joe Fox. And if I ever get 152 pot-marks on my face, I hope I'm still half as handsome as 1998 Tom Hanks.
8. This year, I caught the family history bug. Thanks to The Church's new partnership with ancestry.com, I was able to connect with other users and find never-before-seen photos of my cute ancestors. Finding information about these awesome people has never before been easier, and if you haven't linked your FamilySearch account with ancestry.com yet, you are missing out! And if you don't have a FamilySearch account yet, you're killing me smalls.
9. Sam Smith is a talented human, and I can't get enough of him. He is one artist that I was more than happy to fall in love with this year.
10. Which reminds me: I LOVE going to concerts. I realized that this year. It all started with dear Lionel Richie. I wept at his concert like a 13 year old meeting the BSB for the first time in 1998. (If you want to know the song that sealed my love for him, you can listen here. But you've been warned.) I also got to see my dear Andy Grammer for a second time, Neon Trees (which was fine - it was free), and the incredible Bastille. (That's another album that I fell in love with this year.) There is just something about seeing your favorite musicians perform live, physically in front of you. It's so incredible to watch them share their talent with you for just a little while. I didn't really go to any concerts until this year!
11. I'm really good at keeping my cool in really not-cool circumstances. Which is really just a cryptic way for saying that I'm good at my job. I have had a handful of really really really mean customers this year (I've worked at LR for a year now!) and I can remember each one with a great amount of detail. It's hard when an unhappy customer takes to a personal level and makes you feel like you are personally responsible for their situation, and that you're basically a monster for not being able to wave a magic wand and fix everything for them. But the good news is that I apparently don't sound upset, even though my heart is racing and my blood pressure is spiking. So there's a talent. Ha.
12. I have completely lost all ability to flirt like a normal, non-creepy person. So there's that. Graduating college has decreased my exposure to men, as mentioned, and this is just the first of many effects I'm sure.
13. One more important lesson I have started to learn this year is the art of being still. Particularly in the spring, I felt really strongly like that was the point of this new period of my life - to learn how to be still. To let things be as they are, not force anything to happen, and even to not necessarily search for potential opportunities (or more like...panic about not having any potential opportunities). I of course believe that you have to make your life happen and not just sit idly by, but I think there is something special about being content and happy with what you have. The truth is that I'm extremely blessed - I have a supportive family, a good job in a great environment, and more incredible friends than a girl could ever want. To constantly yearn for something "bigger and better" would be to ignore the bigger and better that I already have. While it's not always been comfortable or my top priority, 2014 has been a year of stillness. And that's pretty great.
14. I think I finally learned how to paint my nails like an adult. So that's cool.
15. Lastly, I have learned more about the Atonement and my Savior this year. And I don't know if there's anything greater for us to learn about in this life than our Savior and what was His ultimate purpose in coming to this earth. I think this personal increase in knowledge and appreciation is in part because of my endowment, but mostly because of the day to day pains, sadness, and heartache that comes with life. Life is hard you guys. Sometimes, your heart will break, and crying yourself to sleep is all that you can do to pass the time, and somehow, you last through the night to see another day. Other times, your worries about the future will be so abundant and feel infinite, but that Still, Small Voice will whisper that it's okay, and you'll move forward, maybe no wiser, but at least a little calmer. Faith is such an incredible tool and it has the power to heal an infinite number of emotions, feelings, and even physical realities. I know that. I also know that my Savior knows me by name, and even when I feel unimportant and very insignificant, He loves me, and because of that love, His Atonement covers my sins, pains, and broken dreams. And that is a most beautiful gift.

All in all, 2014 has been what a post-graduation year should probably be. Somewhat exciting, somewhat mundane. A little happy, a little sad. Very memorable, and still very formative. I am only 23 after all, you guys. That's like 8 years old in adult years. Or at least that's what all my 30 year-old friends seem to think. But really. :)


Plaid Season

Hello world! Long time no see!

How have the past 2+ years been for you? Mine have been both eventful and mundane, but such is the life of a 20-something, right? I've decided to attempt to resurrect this blog for a few reasons:

1. My hilarious thoughts should probably be written down once in a while. It's getting very full inside my head!
2. There are always a few social/political/pointless issues that I would like to discuss, and this lonely blog seems like my best option.
3. The name of the blog is "There's more to life than music," which I created in my collegiate angst and longing to get outside of the music building. I wanted an outlet for discussing and dreaming about anything and everything unrelated to what I was doing every single hour of every single day. I considered changing the name before making this post, but the truth is...I'm now living my life completely away from the music building and almost completely away from music (I now work for a cute swimwear company) and so I think I owe it to my old, boxed-in self to keep the name and write about life on the outside. If anything, the name of this blog probably rings more true now than it did before. So it's about time that I started actually covering the topics of the (now) non-musical adventures I always hoped to have.

Now, lets be honest. I realize that the only people that will read this are my mother, maybe my boss, and hopefully the future Mr. Motz (only because if there's a man out there willing to regularly read this, he MUST be my husband). But that's fine. Maybe one day I'll write a genius post about the ins and outs of cat-ownership or how to find $4 dresses at GAP and it will go viral and I'll make the big times. Maybe I'll even be offered a sweet journalism gig writing nothing about nothing, Seinfeld style, but until then, welcome back to my little corner of the internet. Here are some visual updates for you:

A picture of my new (to the blog) cat:

His name his Henry. He enjoys asking for food, using his head to encourage me to put my phone away, and waiting for me to wake up.

A picture of my new (AKA: LAST WEEK) haircut, complete with bangs:

Hello, 4th grade. Nice to see you again. I haven't had bangs like these since I was 10 (which was my definition of a big girl age) and begged my mom to let me grow them out. You can find the last known documentation at my parents' house. Also, thank goodness for plaid season. Am I right? 

And finally, here is a picture from my day trip to Zion's back in October: 
I went down to St. George to run in a 10K that I had verbally committed to do with a friend. But let's be honest, I was most excited that my friends offered to take me Zion's afterwards so that I could fangirl over nature. This is one of my favorite shots that I captured. Nature - namely Utah - is just so gosh darn beautiful. I'm so lucky to call this place home.

Until next time,


I made it to Labor Day!

Happy labor day weekend, friends! I hope that many of you get a chance to relax and spend time with family and friends. :)

I want to start off by saying how grateful I am for the past two weeks of school! Things could not have gone better. Really. It was incredible. From day one, good things were happening - some were silly, but some were really crucial. I had good feelings about coming back to school, which I had mentioned in my last posting, but Heavenly Father really blessed me and showed me that I am truly in the right place at the right time. I'll do a short-ish list just to give you an idea of what I am grateful for. (Oh man. I ended with a preposition. Sorry guys...)

1. I won my first contest ever! It was for Ticketbud, a company that an old elementary school friend works for. One facebook posting later, they had chosen the name I submitted for their office pet newt: Stuart Newton Bradley IV. Now, those of you that know me know how much I pride myself on the way that I name things. So to win my first (and, by the looks of it, possibly last...) contest ever by naming something, I was over the moon. They sent me flowers as a prize! Beautiful!

2. I was offered a position in what is called the ArtsBridge program. It's a program through the University of Utah that integrates the arts into core curriculum for K-3 students in public schools. The best part (besides getting to work with those precious gems) is that it comes with a scholarship! Which was welcomed news, considering that I walked away from all my scholarships when I decided to go on a mission, and am left with my out of state tuition...

3. New job! I have a new job! I've been working at Macy's department store down at City Creek since they opened, and I technically still work there. But now I'll be working at... LUSH Cosmetics, which is also at City Creek. They are fantastic. I already use almost everything they have to offer. So feel free to come and visit me, and I'll show you all the secrets! Even you, men! A close source told me they love their shaving cream...

4. I am now a member of the Salt Lake Vocal Artists, or SLVA. They are the elite division of the larger community choir group, the Salt Lake Choral Artists, under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred. He is the former head of the choral department at the U - and is phenomenal. I'm so humbled that I get to sing with these fantastic musicians! It's going to be a busy, wild ride. And in May, we are touring to Bulgaria! Here is a preview of Bulgaria:

I don't know about you, but that's not what I think of when I think of "Bulgaria." So cool! And I get to get a passport! I've never been off the mainland....or out of the country. Adventures will ensue!

5. After many late night blog postings in frustration (think, sophomore year)...I have a new private teacher! Steve and I have worked through our differences in the last three years - we are fine people, but for some reason, we don't exactly gel in a student-teacher setting. Anyway, since I was leaving on a mission, he didn't plan to have me as a student this semester. Because of a scheduling and time commitment issue, I now get to take lessons from our AMAZING doctoral student horn player, DeAunn. Man. I just think the world of her, and now I get to study with her. We had our first lesson this week, and it was honestly the greatest lesson I've had in my 3+ years at the U. What a way to end my degree. I'm so grateful.

6. So perhaps the greatest news that I have is regarding my financial status. Unfortunately, but actually for good reason, I am still a nonresident here in Utah! I have been blessed with scholarships that have greatly helped my (absurd) tuition costs, but as I mentioned before, I respectfully walked away from all that when I decided to go on a mission. But luckily, for some reason, I never filled out the official paperwork or anything. So this week, after a phone call to the office, I found out that my GPA was reviewed automatically in June and I was approved for a 2/3 tuition waiver again!!! How cool is that?!? For the last two weeks, I've been calculating that I was going to owe literally $10,000 for just 12 hours in a couple of days. It was phenomenal. Just one day later, Scott (he's in charge of wind instrument scholarships) let me know that he has found some money for me. And if just that wasn't enough, the money he's found for me is more than twice my old music scholarship. People. The church is true. If I still had any doubt that coming to school was indeed the right thing move, this whole financial thing has completely eliminated it. The Lord is so good, and he takes care of us when we are in good places, doing good things. Also, pay your tithing people. And if you're not in a church, JOIN ONE. Preferably mine... And pay tithing. :)

Anyway, I am so full of gratitude. To be completely honest, I feel as though this summer sent me to hell and back. And the entire time, all I could cling to was the hope (and knowledge, actually) that things would eventually turn around. That I would climb out of that hole, in time, and things would start to make sense again. But I believe that one of the hardest lessons to learn in life is patience. I mean, come on. How hard is it to stop over thinking the what-ifs and the should-haves, and to just be? Maybe some of you are just gifted with immeasurable quantities of patience, but I for one am not. But I can testify that Heavenly Father is aware of each and every one of us. No matter what. It doesn't matter if we remember him or not - he will always remember us. And I'm so grateful for all of the blessings he has crammed into just the past two weeks. 

But speaking of patience, have any of you ever known (or at least strongly felt) where you were headed, but had not a clue how you were going to get there? Or maybe you could see how it would happen, didn't know if you had the patience to see it through without meddling and ruining things with your impatience. I feel like that's where I'm at right now. I know what I want, and I know that it can happen. And even though I have not a clue how it will happen, I know that Heavenly Father does. And the number one desire of my heart doesn't have to be a disappointment. I know that he will take care of me. Of it. Of us

Easier said than done.


Junior Year Lessons

Hello again, world!

I want to start off this year by saying one thing: I am going to blog this (senior) year. Blog or bust. I was reading through old posts last night and it was such a rewarding experience to look back at my experiences and feelings. Mostly, it was hilarious. I love how I can make myself laugh. At least - no matter what - I'll have my own sense of humor to get through the day. So I need to blog this year, just so that I look back on my past. I highly recommend it.

So at the end of my first two years of college, I made a posting about what I had learned. It only seems right that I do the same for my (now) over third year. Here goes:

1. I love being in love. There is no greater feeling, and having someone to share every moment and detail of yourself with makes life so much more fulfilling.
2. The hit Travel Channel series, Ghost Adventures, is amazing. And it's real. I swear.
3. Having a house to come home to at the end of the day is awesome. And, sometimes, you can get lucky and have two closets.
4. Toddlers and Tiaras is a train wreck. You can't help but watch.
5. Loco Lizard (in Park City) was the greatest Mexican food restaurant in Utah...
6. UNTIL LOS CUCOS OPENED IN SANDY. If you haven't already heard my Los Cucos monologue, text me. It's amazing.
7. Life is easier with a car. Especially when you love driving.
8. Drama sucks. I hate it. I hate being involved. I hate being associated. I'm over it, more than ever before. I have my own drama, and the last thing I need is to be sucked into anyone else's. I will always listen and offer my advice to friends, but I am most certainly not putting myself in any more situations that automatically sign me up for drama.
9. Aside from everything that has recently happened in my life, Clayton Shepherd definitely set the bar for what kind of person I want to be with. I've learned what kind of qualities I need in a person, as well as what my own weaknesses are. Hopefully I can work on some of those as time goes on.
10. Provo is such a pleasant place. There are so many cute places to eat, and I just love the atmosphere, to be honest. I don't know how much I would love BYU, but Provo is definitely a charming little town to visit. (Besides, I got the best haircut of my life there for $25! Everything is cheaper!)
11. Utah drivers CANNOT drive in the rain. (And by rain, I mean mist.) Don't even try to get on the freeway. You'd be better off walking.
12. LUSH is incredible. Look them up. www.LUSHusa.com - go NOW.
13. I'm actually somewhat proficient at the French horn. The biggest contributor to this realization is the opportunity I had to sit next to DeAunn the entire school year. She is amazing, and just blending into her tone has made me the player that I am today. So grateful. And excited for another year sitting next to her!
14. Missionary clothes are just as hard to find as I thought they would be.
15. Having a man around to do chores and other little things is really really nice. And comforting.
16. The more convenient the washer and dryer seem to be, the less motivation I seem to have to do my laundry. (What's up with that?)
17. The temptation to have alcohol on your 21st birthday is very real.
18. I. Love. The. Mountains. So much.
19. I can dress a man if need be. You can cross "fashionable" off my list of necessary qualities in a man.... I'll make due. :)
20. Even though I'm much closer to having a degree in my hand, I still just want to be a mom. Maybe a flight attendant, pie shop owner, or furniture consignment specialist. But definitely a mom.
21. Sometimes good things fall apart to make way for even better things. As hard as that is to swallow, I have to believe in it. Faith is everything.
22. Good friends will always, rain or shine, be there for you. No matter how long it has been since you last talked... and no matter how many text messages you've ignored. I'm so grateful for my friends. They have forgiven me for so many things and mean the world to me.
23. Fuddruckers broke my heart. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO CLOSE?! And even the Fuddruckers that stayed open in Houston changed their honey mustard. Just not the same.
24. Finger nail polish is enjoyable. Finally, I'm a girl. hahaha
25. And the most important thing I learned this year? Even the planner of all planners (me) will get the rug pulled out from underneath them. I've had to learn (very recently) how to let go of any sort of plan, and just live day to day. And you know what? It's the most liberating feeling in the world to know that you can literally choose to do anything that you want to do. I'm so grateful for the trials that the Lord has thrown in my direction. I know they are tailored for me, and are shaping me into the person that He wants me to be. The person that I want to be.

I have been struggling like crazy to know whether or not I should go on a mission, or continue/finish school. I recognize that I have not been praying, reading, and fasting at the level I should be - which could explain my struggle. But I felt so strongly that it wasn't necessarily about choosing the RIGHT decision. It was about choosing A decision. When I ended up signing up for a few classes, and ultimately realizing how few classes I have left, things started feeling good. It wasn't even about feeling "right" - it was more about picturing my life for once. Just the immediate future part of it. Since then, I am now more excited to start the semester than I ever have before. I feel in charge of my life. And I have to trust that these good feelings wouldn't be here if what I am doing is fundamentally wrong. Faith in myself is huge, and I think I'm on my way.

Thank you to each and every one of my friends that have helped me get to where I am today. Each of you have offered your love and shown so much compassion to me - each affecting me in different ways. I'm so proud to have such valiant, considerate, and selfless friends. I can only hope that I have touched your lives half as much as you have touched mine.

Alright. On with the show! :)
Happy Fall 2012!!


The Road Trip Rundown

Well, to be short, I'm back in Salt Lake City, and am wrapping up my first week back in class! But to fill in the massive 2 month span of time since my last blog posting....

I worked at the YMCA this summer as the day camp arts and crafts specialist. Much mayhem ensued.

I got a car! A zippy, brand new, Subaru Forester!

Not the greatest picture...but it'll do. 

After all that...Clayton flew out to Houston to drive back to Salt Lake with my dad and me. We saw sooooo many things, I can't even tell you. We stopped at 3 temples on the way back - San Antonio, Albuquerque, and Manti. It was a national park field day, visiting Carlsbad, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, Zions, and Bryce Canyon. It was such a wonderful experience and I think the three of us really bonded. Nothing at all went wrong, and everything was just easy and fun. At one point, the thought occurred to me that I was with the two men in this world that love me the most. That was really profound and I'm grateful for them and the time that they took to get to know each other and to help me drive back. I wouldn't change anything about the whole trip. 

Here are a few of my favorite pictures!

Making PB&J sandwiches

Happy hour was a necessary obsession.

Clayton and Lester bonding

The insanely amazing Mexican food at Sadie's in Albuquerque.

We had more leftovers than we ate.

We stopped at the San Antonio, Albuquerque (this one), and Manti LDS temples along the way.

Beautiful sunset on the way out of Albuquerque

Me at the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde - a dream since third grade

Snow cones at the sizzling four corners

My dad got a senior pass to all the national state parks! 

Zion's was breathtaking.

We're kind of in love.

My precious, and excited, dad.

Park hopping on the way back, we hit up Bryce Canyon.

Ten days of nonstop companionship. Um. Yeah.

Still happy.

Pie Sampler in Bicknell! From left to right: oatmeal, buttermilk, pickle, and pinto bean pies.

I'm so grateful for the experience and how many things we were able to see in such a condensed amount of time. Clayton and my dad bonded, and it was a really neat experience to be with the two men in this world that love me the most. I know I've already said that, but it was just so special. I couldn't have been better cared for. Many kudos to them, and to Clay's family for forfeiting him for a little while. It was good to show him around Houston and for my family to welcome him in. 

I couldn't have asked for a better start to my junior year at the U. :)


Day 7 - Maple Syrup and Lester

So today has been pretty darn productive. I donated 3 boxes of old YMCA shirts that I took home yesterday, drove across town, got my horn fixed (again), bought a strawberry rhubarb pie for my dad from Pie in the Sky (which is conveniently just a few blocks from the instrument repair guy), went to work to make a banner, and emailed the supplies I need for next week's camp. However, I have yet to touch my homework. For whatever reason, I truly have zero ambition or desire to even try to study at all. Today, Clayton said that being at home in Houston doesn't help. And that I'm busy working, and online classes are just a pain anyway. I think he's right. He said to just try for 30 minutes a day, and that's an approach I never considered. Then I'll do as much as I can in whatever time I allot myself. I think I'll do an hour a day. That should get me to the end of next week. 

Speaking of Clayton, he's a gem. For cyberspace's information, he is now my boyfriend, and we have taken just one official picture together. Funny story actually...it was taken at the Festival of Colors down in Spanish Fork this past March. I went with Chandra and Blythe, and he (conveniently) was there as well, asking to meet up. In accordance with my hard-to-get-ness, I was strongly opposed to this idea, but knew it had to happen - I'm a nice person on the weekends, and it was a Saturday. (comic relief) So we met up, and this picture was taken:

We're pretty adorbs. I know. Especially for not wanting to take this picture. Well, he definitely did, which you can see in his eyes. But I look pretty happy too! ...But to be completely honest, there's always been something oddly comforting about Clayton. He just calms me down. And even through all of the moments that I've blown him off and pushed him away (our history puts "complicated" to shame) I look back on them, and I can see that when I indulged in a side hug, or sat next to him, or anything that involved being close to or touching him, it just felt good. Yeah, I was too stubborn to acknowledge it, but in hindsight, it's definitely there. It was never this electric rush that makes your heartbeat soar and fireworks to go off. Instead, it was just peaceful. Clayton is just warm, and strong, and comforting. He has the spirit and determination of Nephi - I truly believe that. Anyway, I'm more at peace with my life than I ever have been, and that's all thanks to Clay. Alright. Enough maple syrup.

Day 7: A picture of your most treasured item

This is T. Lester Motz. He's from Macy's department store, December of 1995. I was 4. My sister was registered there for her wedding, and while my parents and I were shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I fell in love with a display of clean cut panda bears wearing Tommy Hilfiger Christmas sweaters. The rest is history. The T stands for Tommy, derived from his original sweater; Lester is my grandpa's (my dad's dad's) name - not sure why I was set on naming him after a grandpa I didn't know too well? But I did. And obviously, he goes by his middle name because I do. Obviously. But yeah. I've had him for 15 1/2 years now, and he's pretty great. He's been my companion during colds and flus, breakups and heartaches, and my big move to adulthood (and Utah). This picture was taken last summer. His silly little smile just warms your heart, doesn't it? 

Well, here's to a happy father's day weekend - the annual weekend of major electronics sales, necktie shortages, and crowded restaurants. :) Have a good day!


Day 6 - The Temple

I'm sorry that I have been so terrible at blogging this summer. I have things I want to blog about...and then never do. It's okay. I don't have too many followers anyway. And the ones I do have probably don't even navigate themselves to my lovely little corner of the internet. Anyway...on with the show!

Day 6 - A picture that inspires you

Recently, I decided that the Houston LDS Temple is where I want to and WILL get married. For years, I think it has stood as my subliminal messenger that I deserve an eternal family, and those wonderful blessings that come from making sacred covenants within its walls. I used to tell my family that I would get married in the Salt Lake Temple, however, now that I live in SLC, the Houston Temple feels like home. I think it was always the temple that popped in my head when I thought of "the" temple. With my many shortcomings and faults, all temples are inspiring. Each tells a story, as well as each person who enters its peaceful walls. 

I can't wait until I can be sealed for time and all eternity in the Houston Temple, no matter how inconvenient or impractical it may be. It's my temple.


'Tis the end of another year

A year ago, at the end of my first year of college, I made a blog posting about what I had learned over that year. While the list was rather lengthy, there were some very interesting things that I had taken away from a year at the U. I don't know how long this year's will be, but here goes (in no particular order):

1. Rooming with Blythe Enke was so much more fulfilling than being by myself.
2. Taco Tuesday at Del Taco is the best place to be on Tuesday nights.
3. Pie Rush Wednesday at Village Inn is the best place to be on Wednesday nights.
4. Email is the overwhelming, professional communication of choice.
5. Consequently, I wouldn't survive this century without a smart phone.
6. Regular temple attendance (such as once a week) may not noticeably change your life, but when it becomes more irregular again, it's so obvious.
7. Grey's Anatomy is addictive.
8. Just because you face a conflict with your big boy pants on, doesn't mean your adult counterpart will.
9. And rather than being in a stalemate, you can actually end up making it harder on yourself. That's hard.
10. An empty mailbox is a happy mailbox. (sarcasm intended)
11. Marshmallow creme belongs on chocolate ice cream. And chocolate ice cream belongs under marshmallow creme.
12. Diet Coke doesn't keep me awake. But a lack of Diet Coke makes for an unpleasant headache.
13. Turning on christmas lights can be the difference between a dismal day and a successful day.
14. Provo is not a good place to meet boys. But they sure can make some ice cream.
15. No matter how many plans (ie. Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc.), you're not entitled to even one of them. They can all fall through.
16. And eventually, that will be okay. Live a little.
17. Nephews are adorable.
18. Ruby Snap makes amazing cookies. (understatement)
19. Do not leave forks unattended in the kitchen while lunch is in the microwave. Hungry people in the music building will actually steal them.
20. Dating is actually fun.
21. I can go a month without doing laundry, and still not offend anyone along the way. At least as far as I can tell. (referring to the act of wearing dirty laundry)
22. You just never know who will come waltzing back into your life. Neither will you know how to feel about that and/or react.
23. Printers do not like me. Correction: my printer does not like me.
24. Las Vegas can actually provide wholesome memories for me.
25. Gaining all the weight you lost sucks. Bad.
26. Jealousy is destructive. It leads to gossiping and passing judgment, even if that's not your intention.
27. Rice really does revive a broken phone. So. Awesome.
28. Finishing musicianship, concert attendance, and keyboarding is as freeing as everyone makes it out to be.
29. I actually CAN read my scriptures consistently every day. Even if it eventually died. But I did it for a while. and can do it again.
30. Living a double life can only last for so long. It's too exhausting.
31. As your parents get older, life seems a lot shorter. Less time to learn all the wisdom they need to teach you. Less time for them to clean up your messes. Less time before you'll turn around and take care of them. But even though it seems like it's one big loss, they're still the same people (except you understand them a little more), and they seem to only love you more. Even from 1500 miles away.

Needless to say, it was a good year. Even after all the heartache and griping. I sure am glad it's over, though.

Pictures of the new house to come!