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Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas All Year

Well, Christmas has officially come and gone throughout the world and yet my heart is still full.

Before my mission each Christmas it seemed as if I was filled with a certain giddiness that only came once a year that made me extra sensitive to the feelings of Christ as I celebrated His birth. However, this year--and even last year on my mission in Australia--those rush of emotions didn't come flooding in as the dams of Christmas season were opened up and I found myself wondering if I'd lost my sensitivity.

But now as I am writing after all the presents are unwrapped, family visits made, and food over-eaten I find that there is a special warmth lingering in my heart. It is the warmth that I felt practically every hour as a missionary for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It came on my mission as I took time and energy to make Christ the center of each day and as I invited others to do the same. As Christmas came the past two years the rush of emotions weren't accompanying the decorations that fill the mall or the music that spills out of family radio stations. I've realized that's okay because I've been holding Christ's light near to my heart these past 18+ months of my life. It is why right now after all the splendor of Christmas has past that my heart remains so very full...

Christmas Spirit has becomes a year-round feeling in my life. I know I am far from perfect, but that's the whole idea! You don't need to be perfect to experience the light of Christ in day to day life; just another marvelous thing about the atonement of Christ.

As President Thomas S. Monson has said, "The Spirit of Christmas is indeed the Christ Spirit." As we enter the new year may we all carry Christ with us.

Friday, November 21, 2014


I love big cities. An energy that never ceases as the taxi’s whiz by, horns honking at pedestrians crossing with the orange hand flashing. The crowds of people, each headed in their own direction and yet they move as one up and down the streets. Whistles blow and the screeching of metal on metal can be heard in the distance as a subway beneath rushes off, or the trains on the tracks circling the city pause just long enough for you to jump on. Decisions must be quick and fluid, lest you pause and cause a ripple in the rhythm of a city.

My last months spent in Australia were spent living the life of a city girl. Busing from the outskirts of Brisbane to the very heart of the city.  The heart throbbed energetically as people bustled from shop to shop. Pounding were the feet against the pavement as each person walked down Queen Street in search of the best sale. Wednesday’s we never wore pink, but the Farmer’s Market would come with exotic fruits, filling your soul with the smell of sautéed mushrooms, popcorn, and warm breads. Like every big city, Brisbane too had an energy unique and beautiful. Most days I appreciated being able to walk to the city’s music adjusting my stride to match the beat of the day, but from time to time a gust of unfiltered cigarette smoke would hit me in the face and my heart would stop and dream of blue skies where trees hemmed the horizon instead of skyscrapers.

Today I went for a run amongst the skyscrapers of nature, breathing in the crisp cool air that has settled just in time for the winter holidays. The mountains that surrounded me reached towards heaven and I took time to appreciate the creations of my Father in Heaven.

On my couch, before I write in my journal, I sit and look out the window at the trees and the fields where horses graze amidst their friends, the cows. My thoughts run to a million places pondering the mysteries of life; love, family, God, etc. My heart is filled with content as I feel the blessings that surround me in life. Problems, which once clogged the funnel in my brain, become resolved as I sit and ponder.

The city is great. I will always enjoy the freedom that is felt in a city, a place I’m free to chase dreams that reach higher than the Empire State Building. The heart, however, cannot always remain in the city. For if it is always walking, never pausing, then there is no time to ponder and untie the jumbled mess that is created in my brain here and there.

As Socrates said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014


In third grade I was sitting in the cafeteria with my friends when we all looked out the window and saw what appeared to be sheets of white cotton falling from the sky at an alarming rate. The crackling of the cafeteria speaker began to buzz and then out boomed our principle’s voice, “School has been cancelled for the rest of the day. Your parents have been notified and buses are ready to take you home.”

My mom came to pick me up and we spent the next four days inside watching movies and occasionally venturing outside to play in the snow and ice with the neighborhood kids. Snow in South Carolina was not common, but it when it fell down from heaven it was a blessing! It meant a break from school and cuddling with family.

This past week I experienced my first snowfall since returning home from Australia, where winter was about 68 degrees Fahrenheit and I felt the need to bundle up! Much to my dismay this week the weather in Morgan County plummeted to well below freezing and to top it off those sheets of cotton fell from the sky. Only difference is I’m not in South Carolina anymore. I woke up and looked out the window and saw the grass covered in snow…

Everything in my brain was yelling, “Stay inside! Don’t risk driving in this!” However, in the great state of Utah life goes on as if nothing has happened when it snows. I crawled into my freezing car and turned it on and grabbed my snow scrapper and began to brush the snow off the car. Brrrrrrr!

Moral of the story is life in the cold and snow is hard. It’s going to take some adjusting in order to crawl out of bed each morning and get living my life. And to think I’m signed up for 8am classes Winter Semester… 

Wish me Luck! Looks like a streak of white is headed towards my canvas.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Words Cannot Describe...

My Mission.

Sure it had its ups and downs, but one thing will always remain, my love for serving the Lord.

I cannot quite possibly describe how those 14 months spent overseas changed my entire life. The way I look at things will never be the same again, simply because of what happened in Australia and with whom it was experienced with.

Due to words being inadequate, something I usually think to be impossible, I have created a video to share some of the best months of my life. 

It's not often I find things that can't be put into words, for I believe words to have the utmost power in creating imagery for all things magical; but alas I have come to a point of denying it no longer.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Indescribable Season

(Millcreek Canyon, Utah)

Splashing on the pavement,
Pitter-patter through the leaves.
Gentle drumming I can hear
As things begin to transition.

Then comes the muffled wind.
Brewing with pumpkin spice,
Painting with red and yellow,
While darkness sneaks in early.

Yesterday we were sunning
Today I woke up cuddling,
Throwing on scarfs and warm knits
As the steady rhythm trills.

Tomorrow the sun will rise,
But shorts I’ll wear no more.
For crisp air will have set,
Along with my cashmere.

A season indescribable
Fleeing as fast as it comes.
As soon as orange leaves blossom
They'll soon crunch 'neath my boots.

Indescribable season, and yet
All make the endeavor to identify
 The beauty that is impalpable,
And the feelings ever mystical.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

God Bless America

9/11, a day when every American shudders as they remember what happened thirteen years ago. Though I was only seven years old, that day is forever imprinted in my memory. This day each and every year causes me to stop and count my blessings. This day paints a bold stroke of red on my canvas.

I was in second grade. My mom worked as a teacher forty minutes away from our house and so I went to daycare and school out there too. I was sitting at my babysitter’s watching “Arthur” when the phone rang. ‘Liza, my dear babysitter, picked up the phone while I remained in a trance staring up at the TV.  Suddenly, Arthur was gone and all I saw was a plane on the TV crashing into a building that stood next to a building that was on fire.

The thought to complain that the channel had changed didn’t even cross my mind. I still couldn’t understand what was happening. I looked behind to see my babysitter still on the phone, her gazed fixated on the screen. Little did I know these two towers were in New York City, or that thousands of people worked there, and were now fleeing the building or suffocating as the smoke grasped life from their lungs.

At school I remember every TV was turned to the news and the two burning towers were shown over and over again. My teacher tried to continue teaching, but she too was distracted by the images flashing across the screen.

As the week continued to unfold my seven-year-old brain began to grasp what happened I couldn’t believe people would do that. As the years continued on and the time came when my brother signed up for the army, and 9/11 touched my family again as he went overseas.

Today I give thanks to all those who fight for our country. I commemorate the work that has been done to remember 9/11. A day that will live on in infamy. A stroke of paint on my canvas. God bless America and the families that lost loved ones that day.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Beginning

Watercolor paintings occur when paint is watered down and then combined to create a picture with multiple colors. My grandfather was an amazing watercolor artist before dementia took over his creative abilities. However, some of my favorite memories with my grandfather are sitting at his art table watching him sketch a bird that sat outside the window, then patiently, my grandpa taught me how to use his watercolors to create beauty.

The Canvas: A blank slate. A foundation. We all have a foundation in which we build our lives. Mine is in three parts, my religion, my family, and my mission where I learned to speak Chinese and taught people about Christ's love in the Australia, Brisbane Mission.

The Paint: Each of us brings different colors to the world. We are meant to mingle and learn from each other. Like a watercolor we blend together to create the beautiful picture of life. Stephen Schwartz, composer and lyricist of the broadway musical Wicked, wrote, "People come into our lives for a reason bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them. And we help them in return."

This Blog: I have my canvas. Now this is my journey with the world and the people in it. I believe life's fuller when we let people enter in, and change us for the better. This is my story.