christmas eve was spent with some of my favorite people at my grandparents' house.  there was the usual delicious food, loud laughter, teasing, playing, talking, dressing up and haphazardly acting out the nativity, watching our parents act out the nativity {which was crazier than when the kids did it!}, and gangnam style with an 9-year-old and a 2-year-old.  

christmas day was spent sleeping later than usual, giving presents, receiving presents, pajamas all day, both sets of grandparents, more delicious food, tiny cousins, catch phrase, and a movie.  

and in spite of all this fun -- good, clean, wonderful fun! -- my favorite part of this christmas was, in actuality, not in these events that happened christmas eve or christmas day. 

my favorite part of this christmas was the feelings that were in our home.  my family is seriously the greatest.  and although we're not perfect, we try.  there is frustration, and anger, and bitterness, and jealousy, but mostly in my home, i feel that we abide by this christmas adage:

merry everything, happy always.  

and how grateful i am for that.
God bless you all during this beautiful holiday season.  
and may every day be merry everything, happy always. 



“Today many sisters are being called to serve. Many more are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or don't have anything else to do, but they have the desire to serve.
              -President Gordon B. Hinckley

Haley Furstenau: 
Called to Serve in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission, Spanish speaking, Reporting February 6, 2013! 

morg and i, soooo excited for her! :) 

we all wanted a good look at her mission packet :) rob, me, haley's forehead, and morgie

so excited for you Haley! i love you so so so so much best friend! :)



i see trees of green, red roses too
i see em bloom for me and for you
and i think to myself... what a wonderful world

i see skies of blue, clouds of white
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights
and i think to myself... what a wonderful world

the colors of a rainbow, so pretty in the sky
are also on the faces of people going by
i see friends shakin' hands, saying how do you do?
they're really saying i love you

i hear babies cry, i watch them grow
they'll learn much more than i'll ever know
and i think to myself... what a wonderful world

yes, i think to myself... what a wonderful world

that basically sums up how i feel today.  we are so blessed!



i know morgan still has 13 days before she enters the MTC... but with finals next week and christmas and her leaving and everything i wanted to make sure to write a blog post so she could read it. {also, prepare for a photo dump.}

morgie poo, this one's for you.

roommates.  when i first met morgan, she was quiet and reserved.  she was super easy to talk to, but spent a lot of time at the library and a lot of time in her own room.  i remember the first night of college, we went back to our apartment and she sat on my bed while i unpacked and we talked allllll about boys. {sorry, you probably thought i was crazy! hehe}  i remember thinking that she was soo nice and the easiest person to talk to of my life! i was glad we were roommates :) but i didn't know how this girl would change my life and become one of my best friends!

time went on, and i didn't feel as close to morgan as i did my other roommates.  i loved her, but she was at school a LOT and i didn't feel like i knew her very well.  but time fixed that! soon, morgie was staying up late chatting with us.  she opened up and told us more about her life, her boys, her fears, her family, her dreams, her past, and her future.  and morgan is probably one of the funniest people i know. we laughed... a lot!! 

best friends. roommates quickly turned best friends.  all our time together, laughing, crying, snuggling, wrestling, eating, dancing, shopping, running, sleeping, and much much more bonded us.  we've become sisters.  morgan has taught me so much about how to live life right.

this is morgan -- herself no matter who is around. herself no matter the circumstance.  and she is a beautiful, funny, fun-loving, smart, hard working, spiritual, wonderful person that i look up to SO much.  i have learned so much from morgan and someday hope to be a little bit more like her.

morgan, thanks for always being there for me.  for always having my back and listening to whatever i want to talk about -- honestly, you're probably the best listener i know.  thank you for being understanding, for pushing me to be better in ways you probably won't ever know.  thank you for being in the temple with me and sharing my most special day -- it meant sooo much that you were there.  you're such a good friend.  a tighter, better group of friends than us 4 is absolutely impossible.  you, me, haley, and melina will always be friends.  i know it.  i miss you so much already that my heart is breaking, but you'll be the best sister missionary in chile.  you are such an example to so many!

now get out there and shine! 

i love you!! xoxo



Being able to go through the Bountiful temple yesterday was the most beautiful, sacred, wonderful day of my entire life.  The temple is such a marvelous place.  Walking into the Celestial Room, seeing my family and friends there, was the BEST feeling I've ever had in the world.  I have never felt so beautiful.  I feel so humbled that the Lord would see me worthy to enter His holy house.

"Come to the temple.  If not now, come soon. Pray fervently, set your lives in order, save whatever you can in hopes that that day may come. Start now that sometimes very difficult and discouraging journey of repentance. The temple transforms the individual and makes abundantly worthwhile any efforts made to get there. Keep your faith and your hope and determine that you will come -- that you will be worthy and that you will come to the temple."

-- President Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple



today i heard no less than 5 {not even kidding} people on campus singing to themselves.  usually, i look at those people like for real? are you 2 or are you 20, stop singing, we're in college let's get real. but today, for some reason, it was kind of beautiful.  those people don't care about what people think about them.  they are going to sing if they want to!  they're going to skip and shout and sing and even if people think they're insane, they're going to do it anyway.  

seeing those people be so completely themselves made me notice other small beautiful things today.  like the Christmas decorations all over campus.  and the couple that was holding hands walking to class.  and the smiles on people's faces.  and the free hot chocolate by the wilk.  and the awesome majesty of the mountains surrounding this campus.  and the few stray leaves on the trees.  laughter.  color.  music.  friendships.  text messages that make your day.  cute guys.  warm clothes.  best friends. a cute apartment.  a job.  low stress.  visits from friends.  good grades.  nail polish....

and on and on and on.

all these little blessings make life just beautiful. 



in apartment #54 :)



so i've been listening to phillip phillips' song "home" like constantly for the past little while.  because i absolutely love it.  and i was thinking today,

this song is so perfect for me.  check out the lyrics:

hold on to me as we go {i'll need to hold onto the Lord as i go to hong kong}
as we roll down this unfamiliar road {hong kong will be the most unfamiliar place i've ever been!}
and although this wave is stringing us along {yeah, there'll be hard days}
just know you're not alone {the Lord will never leave us alone!}
cause i'm going to make this place your home. {hong kong. my home.}

settle down, it'll all be clear {put my trust in Him who knows best}
don't pay no mind to the demons
they fill you with fear {satan will try to fill me with fear!}
the trouble it might drag you down
if you get lost, you can always be found

just know you're not alone
cause i'm going to make this place your home. 

and boom.  here come the tears -- but happy, grateful, full of wonder tears.




there is so much in my life to be thankful for.

a wonderful family comes at the top of the list.  my dad, who works so hard to provide for us and is funny and caring and understanding and forgiving and wonderful in every way.  my mom, who is the glue that holds us all together and sacrifices everything for her family and is fun and makes any situation better and is my best friend.  my sister, who is beautiful and perfect in every way and is so good at making me feel loved and understands me in everything.  my brothers, who are both so fun and add so much to our family and love to be around me and even though they burp and fart and stink, i love em. to death.  along with countless aunts, uncles, cousins, and on and on.  i have the BEST family.

two places to call home -- provo and heber city.  and soon, hong kong.  i'm so thankful for the places i have to live where i feel safe and warm and loved and protected.  i'm thankful for the people that make it so.

my friends are amazing -- i have the best friends on the face of the earth.  julia, who has stuck through high school and now college with me.  melina, morgan, and haley, who have become my family away from my own.  i seriously love them so much.  new friends and old friends and young friends and older friends.  i have so many people there to support and build me up and love me for who i am.

attending BYU has been such an immense blessing in my life.  i absolutely love going to school where the Spirit resides.  i love walking around campus knowing that everyone there shares my standards.  i love praying and singing before class, and learning more about the gospel to enrich my life. learning and the chance to learn at such a wonderful university is so amazing.  i know so many people who don't have the privilege i do, and i am so thankful that i can be at the Y.

the chance to serve a mission has come as the most unexpected -- but absolutely wonderful -- blessing.  everything is falling into place for me to serve: my contract has sold, my call has come, i have a job until then, i have so much support.  my grandpa said it during thanksgiving, "i'm doing better than i deserve."  i truly believe i am.  the Lord is so good to me.

the list goes on and on and on:  good food, whenever and wherever i want.  eyes to see and ears to hear and hands to feel and legs to walk and run.  living in the united states of america where freedom rings.

giving thanks this holiday season means so much more to me, because for the next 18 months i will be away from most of these blessings that are so dear to me now.  i guess that's why i'm most grateful for the one constant in my life:  my Savior, Jesus Christ.  His mercy and love and sacrifice means the world and more to me.  i know He will be with me every second of my mission.  although apprehension has started to set in, i am not afraid.  my Savior knows me.  He loves me.  He will help me.

this i know.  and i am so thankful.



props to abby snow for putting this awesome video together! makes me cry everytime!!



i'm sure everyone who reads my blog knows by now where i'm going on my mission.  but for anyone that may have missed it, here it is:


it couldn't have been a bigger shock to me.

i had the BEST support group there cheering me on.  my grandparents on both sides, friends from high school and college, neighbors, and of course my incredibly amazing family.  oh, and the cardboard cutout of spencer of course. ;) haha

words can't really describe what i feel right now.  SHOCK.  that's the emotion.  there is no fear; not yet at least.  there is some excitement, but mostly it's just complete shock that i am going to CHINA.  i mean, look at this: 

this is hong kong.  i am a country girl, from teeny little heber city, utah.  my own little bubble.  i am now going out into the real world, into a HUGE city, into china.  it's insane.  i haven't processed it yet. but the Lord will bless me, i have no doubt of that.  

look out, hong kong!  here i come!  ready to do HARD things!  



last night i watched Hotel Rwanda for the first time for my racial/minority group relations class.  having done a report on the genocide back in 8th grade, i knew what an awful and horrific experience it was.

sort of.

i knew the movie would be so sad.  i thought i could handle it.

i was wrong.

these things should not be talked about lightly.  all these deaths, these awful things.... please read this with respect.  

Hotel Rwanda was the most sickening, disturbing, sorrowing, awful, humbling thing i have ever seen in my entire life.  as i watched fathers, mothers, children, babies, grandparents, aunts, uncles be brutally murdered before my very eyes, i felt like throwing up.  i watched these people cower under machetes, sob for family members and friends they had lost, live in fear of being found, cradle their children close to them, desperately place phone calls for help, and pray to God that they would be delivered from this awful genocide, i couldn't help but sob out loud.  even now, i can't help but be choked up at the merciless things these people did to one another.

when the movie was over, i felt numb all over.  i went back to my apartment alone.  it was late, and all the lights were off.  i sat on the couch, hugging a blanket, and fell apart.  i bawled.  my heart literally aches for the million people that were killed in this horrific event.  i feel frustration for the United Nations who evacuated all the white people and left these Africans to deal with it themselves. i feel so much compassion for those people -- both the perpetrators and the victims.  how can people have so much hatred in their hearts?  how can they get to that point in their lives?

i feel so humbled by what i have.  i live in the United States of America.  i will probably never have to deal with anything even close to that in my life.  we are so blessed here

and so, i ask you.  please remember what you are blessed with.  perhaps we are unhappy with who was elected.  perhaps we think we do not have enough.  perhaps we feel hatred for others.  perhaps we have hard trials.  perhaps we ask God, why this? why me? why now?  

think of those that had to go through this awful genocide and put all this aside.  let love govern your actions.  let peace enter your heart.  love, forgive, be selfless, and show gratitude.

i know i will.



you guys, the day has arrived.


good news:  ahhhhhhhhhhhh it's so crazy!!!!!!! i can't waiiiiiit!! :) i had it sent home to heber, so at least i'm not sitting here with it in my hand.  pretty sure i'd rip it open.  i think my family is doing their best not to rip it open themselves!

bad news:  i can't open it till FRIDAY NIGHT.  why, you may ask?  my dad is out of town.  as much as i want to know where i'm going, i want my daddy to be there when i find out.

sooo, now is the time to guess!  where in the world am i going?  please please please comment below with your guesses.  i want to know where you think i'm destined for the next 18 months!!



this will be up there on the list of things i'm gonna miss when i leave... byu football games with GREAT friends.  honestly, looking through these pictures, i think to myself,

how did i get so blessed with the best friends on the face of the earth?? 

goodbye football season 2012! you will be greatly missed! see you in 2014!