The sky was gray all day and now the streets shimmer with rain. It pit-patters on the roof, too. I like that sound.

My husband sits on the couch opposite me, headphones in, jamming silently to Blink 182 and Boys Like Girls, perfecting his air guitar, "doing his homework".

I sit here on this couch, thinking, writing, just being still for a moment. It's nice to have a few minutes to think and breathe and crawl inside my mind.

Our couches are faded pastel plaid. We got them from my parents' neighbor. She was an elderly widow about to move in with her daughter. She lovingly gifted to us our plaid couch set, along with two wing-backed floral armchairs and a faded ottoman. We were beyond excited to have so much furniture. It's nice to have places for people to sit when they come over. It's nice to curl up on these free couches of ours with a blanket to do homework or watch a movie or just talk.

The heater just kicked on for the first time this fall.

I think this, right now, is the definition of cozy.

Happy Fall! (I know, I know... #basicfallpost)



I grew up with the fantastically romantic idea of getting married and being dirt poor. It just sounded so great to me. Sure, money's nice. . . but living paycheck-to-paycheck on nothing but refried beans; coming home to a minuscule hole-in-the-wall apartment -- you know the kind: bed in the living room, no couch, card table and two folding chairs crammed into the teensy kitchen, no room for guests; packing our lunches in brown paper bags, and stressing about money with my cute new husband (who, at the time of these thoughts, was unknown to me) sounded like the most romantic thing of all time.

Weird, maybe, but true.

We got engaged and Michael told me the best news ever: we already had a place to live! Thanks to Grandma & Grandpa Watkins, there was a little duplex in west Provo with our name on it. We were ecstatic to get the keys.

love our duplex. Seriously, love. We live in a great location -- with the river right there, and all the trees, and the park at the end of the street. We have three bedrooms that we don't even need but I love having places to put stuff. We have a big family room and a big kitchen and a cute little back deck and a laundry room and a ginormous bathroom. I mean, for a family of two, we're completely spoiled. I feel like we're living in absolute luxury.



We obviously want to solve the problem ASAP. So one day while I was in the library, Michael drove to Bed Bath & Beyond. He searched high and low for a fan that blows cold air. He consulted me on the phone, I googled it, it looked good. He bought it. Brought it home. And guess what?


When he called to tell me, I couldn't help but laugh. I wasn't even frustrated. It would be just our luck to buy something that's exactly the opposite of what we really want.

So, I'll enjoy our hot house a bit longer. You know what, I won't even complain. We're getting used to sitting on the couch with wet rags draped over our legs and around our necks and taking icy cold showers right before bed.

I think it's something we'll look back on later with fondness.

Even if that's hard for me to believe right now.

I realized that home isn't a place as much as it is a feeling. Home really is where your husband is. And your family.

And I love our little home.


May will always be a special month for us.

A year ago May 10 was warm and sunny. We walked home from church together, casually chatting. We talked about nothing in particular, but neither of us could have ever imagined where it would take us.

On May 14, we went to institute together. I was impressed by his note-taking, his comments, and his singing voice. He smoothly and sneakily got my number. Later that night, he called and asked me out for Saturday. I couldn't keep a smile off my face.

On May 16, he picked me up. I opened the door and my heart skipped a beat [cliche, I know, but honestly and absolutely true]. He was cute. Cuter than I remembered. And tall. Taller than I remembered. We went to his apartment and made pizza and played Ticket to Ride with a few other couples. I was smitten. He seemed so good in every way.

Since last May, it's been a whirlwind of smiles, hugs, vacations, breakfasts, walks, laughter, and tears. We have shared absolutely everything together. Life as a whole -- not a half, wondering who our other half is, but a whole -- is amazingly beautiful.

The month of May brings beauty to the world. Everything turns green. The skies are brightest blue, and the sun shines brilliantly on emerging new life. I have a feeling that every May will also bring warmth and beauty to our marriage. We'll look back on that first May we had together and remember with fondness when we fell in love.


Happy March!

School is in full swing, and I mean swing. Like, whoaI'mreadytogetofftheswingnow kind of swing. Papers, projects, tests, quizzes, and homework assignments are keeping both of us crazy busy. Planning for the future and thinking about all that's ahead of us can be a little overwhelming at times.

{Now go read THIS and then come back to this post.}

We have so much to be happy about.

Yesterday was Sunday. The day was super warm, we had just gotten out of the dedication for the Provo City Center temple, and we decided to go for a drive. It was a spontaneous decision. We drove around in the hills above Provo -- holding hands, looking at houses, dreaming about the future, discussing the present.

It was not a profoundly significant drive. We didn't make any major decisions. I don't even remember exactly what we talked about.

But sitting there in our old beater car with my handsome husband of nearly 3 months was pure bliss.

We have so much to be happy about.

You know what the best part is?

Every Sunday is like that. The activities vary, but the feeling is always the same. We spend time together, thinking about God and our relationship with Him. Thinking about our little family and what lies in our shared future.

Sundays with my husband are the absolute best.


Michael & I met in the summertime. We lived about 106 (we counted once) steps from each other's front door. We were both living with our best friends and were busy with summer jobs and school, but we spent almost every spare minute together!

*the first picture we ever took together*

I remember one night in June talking to my roommate/best friend about familiarity. Michael & I didn't quite have it yet. We did in some ways, but in others I was only beginning to learn about him, and he about me. My friend and I talked about how nice it must be to have familiarity with someone. Share absolutely everything. Tell secrets, and know they'll be kept. Feel their hand in yours. Talk about dreams & hopes. Know their wardrobe inside and out. Cry ugly tears. Laugh it out later. Confess the past, and forget it together.

In June, I wasn't sure what Michael & I would be in the future. I had high hopes that our relationship would continue to progress, and that I would feel that sense of familiarity with him. I hoped, and wondered, and waited. 

And time unfolded. 

Now, we have our little house together where we burn candles to cover up bad smells and dance in the kitchen and hang up our wedding pictures in whatever frames we can get our hands on and cry and complain and laugh and confide and sing and I truly, truly couldn't be happier. 

The familiarity is there. It's growing, and I'm sure it will still be growing 20 years from now. But it's here now in one way or another and I LOVE IT. 



I love people. I love being around them, talking to them, watching them, learning from them, laughing with them, crying with them. There is a certain sense of belonging that I feel with people, because I believe that we are all children of God and that He loves us all equally. He is our Father. We are all members of His eternal family unit, white or black, male or female, rich or poor, gay or straight, young or old. The connection between all of us (simply as human beings) is very strong. Yet none of us love perfectly.

Lately there is a lot of social media discussion about this new release from the LDS Church. And when I say discussion, I mean arguments -- heated, nasty, hateful, bitter arguments that leave me shaking my head in disbelief that we all belong to the human race. Likewise, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and throughout the Middle East have left me speechless and heartbroken. How, I ask you, HOW can there be so much hatred in the world?

I have debated about whether or not to write this, but decided to do it, not out of hatred or spite for others, but out of love. For everyone. I sincerely feel that way. We need a healthy dose of love if we are ever going to overcome so many evils that are happening around us.

I was raised in a conservative Mormon household. I was taught traditional values and accepted & embraced them. I was taught that God is my Father and loves me. It made sense to me as a child, and still makes sense now, that He loves all of His children. He doesn’t pick favorites and doesn’t discriminate. He wants us all to return to live with Him.

I so badly wish I knew how to solve all of the world's problems. My quiet corner of the internet probably won't affect many people; my opinions won't be broadcast or go viral. I doubt that I'll ever appear on national television, or tour the many nations of the world. I don't pretend to want to change the world in that way. I don't think I ever will. But perhaps I can make a quiet difference. That's all I've ever wanted to do. 

I think one answer to the many problems hitting us in the faces right now is simple: love.

We need more love for God. We need more love for His Son, Jesus Christ. We need more love for families and more love for each other. We need more love among neighbors and more love between rivals. We need love for our nation and love for other nations. We need love for those that are different from us, and love for those that are similar. We need more love when we think we can't give any more. We need love toward situations in which we disagree strongly. We need love for people that hate us. We need love for our parents and grandparents. We need love for those sacrificing for our freedoms. We need love for our children, and future children. We need love so desperately I can't even list all the ways it is needed.

I think love is only part of the solution to the complicated predicaments we are faced with in this world. But it's most definitely a start.

I'll start by thinking about how I can love more fully. How will you start?



Since Michael and I are getting married in 48 days {you guys. less than 50! WHAT. so exciting!}, we have been meeting with our bishop every week for advice. I have learned so much from these weekly meetings.

Being engaged is the best. I have never been so happy! And here you go. What good are learned lessons unless they are shared?  "Only the foolish learn from experience — the wise learn from the experience of others." {Romanian proverb}

I've heard several times, "Being engaged is so fun because you just get to focus on you guys!" After we got engaged, I fell into an "us" rut. I was so wrapped up in wedding plans and us and the dress and the venue and our relationship and our future that I spent little to no time thinking about other people. I'll be honest -- I'm still in the rut. I'm working on getting out now, but I know I'll still slip back into it. The important part is that I'm working on getting out. Bishop told us we need to make service a priority. The perfect marriage has three people included in the relationship: the man, the woman, and God. It's a curious paradox that we get closer to God and closer to our spouse by reaching out to other people.

Might seem like a contradiction to the first, but I have found the importance of taking time at the end of the day just to be by myself. It's important to have reflection time. My getting-ready-for-bed hygiene routine, journal, scriptures, and prayer have been special times for just me.  I think it helps me give more of myself to the relationship. It is important to know yourself before you can give you to someone else.

How many times have you heard, "love their weaknesses too"? I had heard it a lot but I didn't realize I would actually have to work at it. I assumed everything would be butterflies and rainbows and I would absolutely be able to overlook everything that wasn't perfect about the other person. Well, that's not actually the case. I realized this pretty quickly and then consciously made the decision to love his weaknesses too. Something magical happened. Or perhaps it was simply that charity entered into my heart. I can honestly say I love everything about Michael, his imperfections and all. I know he feels the same about me and it's so comforting to have found that.

I know I'm no expert on being engaged. But let's be real. Who is? We only do it once!