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!



Now that summer's long over and fall is here, I wanted to post these to forever remember the summer of 2015. Hot sun, too much salt water {or is that even possible?}, crazy curls that were never brushed, a Thai food truck, frozen yogurt, laughing, shaved ice, family game night, Polynesian Cultural Center, multiple temple trips, delicious homemade food, gorgeous sunsets, deep talks, spearfishing, speaking Cantonese again, carefree barefoot walks, waking up at 5:30 to see the sunrise, naps, a flat tire. . .

It was the most perfect trip. The most perfect summer.



Right now I'm in a persuasive writing class. We've had to do an essay every week, and sometimes the topic is kind of obscure. Today's was, "What is art?"  Defining something like that is always hard, because it's so subjective. In one person's mind, art may be anything that embodies a feeling. Someone else believes art is anything that is created. Another person may see art in a completely different way.

It got me thinking, though, about how to define other things that may seem hard to define. Since I'm recently engaged, I've been thinking about how to define love.

Love is wonderful (in my own very small experience of loving someone -- I know I'm no expert). When you love someone, you care for them more than you care about yourself. Love is patient, and kind, and selfless. I have found myself caring more about Michael than I ever have about myself.  I want him to be happy. I want him to be healthy. I want him to do well. I feel joy when he succeeds. When he laughs, I feel like my heart is going to explode.

Love can also be terrifying. It's a scary thing to give yourself to someone; there are so many things that make up me, and I'm not proud of a lot of them. At first, I never wanted Michael to see my weaknesses and shortcomings, because I was afraid it would change his opinion of me. I wanted to be perfect in his eyes. But guess what? That's not what love is... at least, that's not what I think it is. Love is seeing and knowing the weaknesses, and looking past them to see someone's potential. Love is helping each other overcome mistakes and shortcomings. True love is extremely Christlike.

I will probably never love perfectly, at least not in this life. But I hope to continue learning about love with Michael. We are only beginning our journey of loving each other, but I am completely in awe of what I've learned in the past few months.

74 more days until forever begins. I can't wait.



"Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?
Out in the yard with your wife and children, workin' on some stage in LA?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke rising against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger and fear for your neighbor or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones or pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble and sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white, and blue and the heroes who died just doing what they do?
Did you look up to Heaven for some kind of answer, and look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs, I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I could tell you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God and I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love...

Where were you when the world stopped turning, on that September day?"  --Alan Jackson

I was eight years old when 9/11 happened and changed the world's history. I remember that day in snapshots: small moments and memories that seem to be ingrained in my mind forever, like a camera roll. 

I remember the TV turned to the news and my mom crying. She wondered whether or not to send us to school. I saw smoke, two towers, and a lot of confusion. I didn't quite understand what was going on.

I remember going to school. Mrs. Smith was wearing a yellow shirt and olive green pants. She was also crying. I felt sad, but didn't really know why.

I remember Mr. Horner, the principal, telling us all over the intercom what had happened. When he was finished, Mrs. Smith cleared up any confusion we were feeling. I felt a reverent dread come over me. Reverence for the people who had died, and their families. Dread for what might happen in the future, and what had already happened.

I remember standing up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and really feeling the power of the words for the first time that I could remember. 

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 

In that moment, in my little eight-year-old mind, I felt so proud to be an American. I felt honor and respect and love for my country that represents so much. I felt, in the words of the song that we all know so well, that I would "proudly stand up next to you, and defend Her still today, 'cause there ain't no doubt I love this land. God bless the USA!" 

We are still one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. What makes it so special, I’m convinced, is the love that we have in our hearts for freedom, bravery, patriotism, loyalty, and every other good thing that we stand for. . . in America, and across the world.

Thank you to the men and women who died, and still die, fighting for our freedoms.

9/11 -- I will never forget. 



I think when I started training for my marathon, I thought sure, a marathon. It'll be hard but it'll be awesome! 26.2 miles? Sheesh, I've run 13 before! Just 13 more, what's the big deal? 

I'm sure it's not news to anyone else, but running that far is, in fact, a very, very big deal.

Michael and I did 14 miles last Monday.  It was pouring rain, and almost the whole time I couldn't wipe a smile off my face.  (Not that you can tell from this picture.  I was trying to look fierce but it failed...) It's quite an accomplishment to say that my legs carried me that far.  My legs, my lungs, my heart, my arms...  they all carried me that far.  When we were done I felt like I could take on the world!  Anything I put my mind to! 

Yesterday I did 16.  SIXTEEN.  One-six.  S I X T E E N  M I L E S ! 

We finished the run (the last 5 of those 16 miles being absolute torture) and I was full of so much emotion that I just broke down and cried.  I was so utterly exhausted I couldn't even close my mouth to somewhat contain the sobs.  They just spilled out -- ugly, loud, panting, relief-filled, emotional, wrenching sobs.  I have never run that far in my entire life!  I wish I could capture the feeling in words.  Nothing quite describes that feeling of joy, pain, relief, and accomplishment.

Running is addicting because runner's high is real.  When I think about running that far again, I am half filled with dread, half filled with ecstatic, anxious excitement.  Our bodies and minds really are amazing.  Even though it's incredibly hard, WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.  We were meant to do hard things.  We were not meant to be couch potatoes.  We were meant to move, and fly, and run, and sing, and DO.

Here's to the next month and a half of marathon training!




Kidding.  Did I make you smile?

I just listened to this talk from 1962.  That seems like an eternity ago to me, even though to others perhaps it feels just like yesterday.  Time is strange that way.

The talk was about getting to know yourself and thinking about what you hold most dear.  We need to spend some time getting acquainted with ourselves and find out what matters most to us.  In today's world, with so much hubbub and the ever-present distractions of Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, iPhones, Twitter, Instagram, iTunes, Spotify... (I could go on, but you get it)... we hardly ever spend time sitting, pondering, and wondering at the many different aspects that make up the person we are.

So I've spent some time sitting today.  Pondering.  Wondering inwardly at myself, who I am, and the things I care about.

Who am I?

I am a person that loves the sunshine, because it brings hope and warmth and happiness.  In the sunlight, the world is bright and alive.

I am a person that loves poetry, because of the wonderful way poets capture a feeling on paper.

I am someone that loves a good view, because of the way it fills me with wonder.

I am a person that wants to be close to other people -- relationships matter to me, and I love learning about someone and what's important to them.

I am someone that loves deeply, and laughs freely, and is never afraid to write about my feelings, but is sometimes afraid to say them aloud.

I am someone that knows God and Jesus Christ are real people, and because They are real, and because They love me, I have second chances for all of the silly mistakes I make (because I make a lot).

Who are you? 



Happy Sunday!  I am feeling so incredibly grateful for temples today.

{And for those of you that don't know much about Mormon temples, you can click here to find out more!}

I have been a temple worker in Provo for the past 6 months.  I had to quit a few months ago because of my work schedule.  I miss it.  Every Wednesday, I would wake up at 5:30 to be there by 6:15.  (And if you know me, you know how much I dislike mornings.  I thought my mission would cure me of that but it didn't really.) One particular morning, I was SO close to going back to bed and telling my coordinator I couldn't make it.  I was just too tired.  It was just too early.  But, remembering my new motto to do hard things, I went.  On this particularly hard morning, an older woman dressed in white leaned over to me while I was helping her, and whispered, "Thank you for being here this morning so I could be."


It is such a treat and privilege to serve in the temple.  I'm so glad I went when I was exhausted.  It was so worth it, just for that sweet comment.

“And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.” (4 Nephi 1:3)

There are many things that I still do not understand about the temple, and many concepts and symbols that I will probably never fully grasp.

However, one thing I have learned about is equality and commonality in the temple. Once inside, everyone changes into simple, white clothing. Everyone truly has “all things common among them” — including dress. There is no one more privileged than the other. All who enter the temple do so to make covenants (or sacred promises) with God. If they are not there for themselves, they are doing work for the dead; serving those that have already passed on and making available those covenants they could not make while they were on the earth.

Rich and poor class does not matter in the temple, nor can anyone tell. There is no bond and free; instead, as this scripture so beautifully and poetically describes, everyone is made free.

I have heard a lot of people say that the commandments and covenants we make restrict us. In reality, I think they free us. When our judgment isn’t clouded by physical appetites — sex, drugs, alcohol, money (just to name a few) — we are able to be true to ourselves. God created us to be free. He gave us the gift of our agency. To me, that is a heavenly gift indeed. I love the ability to choose for myself to obey God’s commandments. Going to the temple isn’t something I feel forced to do because I’ve made covenants there. It is a place I feel drawn to because I receive answers there. It is truly God’s house, somewhere I will always feel clean, pure, having all things in common with those around me, beautiful, and free.



Sometimes I get a huge urge to write...  and I don't even know what I want to write about.  I heard once that writing is taking all the emotions in your heart/brain and putting them on paper in the form of words.

So, here goes. 

It's been raining a lot lately.  It pit-patters down and makes me remember Hong Kong.  It doesn't rain here like it does there.  In fact, a lot of people would argue that we've seen some pretty good rainstorms in the past few weeks.

No no no.

Utah doesn't know a "pretty good rainstorm".  Pretty good rainstorm means that you can't go outside for one second without getting soaked to the bone.  Pretty good rainstorm = upturned umbrellas and no more makeup and puddles and Crocs and everything inside your purse is wet.

Before, the rain made me sad and depressed.

Today, I couldn't be more happy.  Rather than feeling like the sky is crying, I feel like it's so happy it just burst and a million little drops of happiness is spilling onto the ground and covering us all.  Maybe it's because I've been really happy in life lately.  I moved into a really great apartment with super awesome roommates and an incredible ward, and I guess what I'm saying is life is really, really good right now.

Probably because:
Parker got his mission call to Argentina. I mean, he broke the Asian trend in our family, so we're a little mad, but mostly SUPER stoked for him ;)

I tried Waffle Love for the first time and almost died because it was so good.

We got to Skype this little cutie in Japan!!! I MISS HER SO MUCH.

We had mission reunion...

...after mission reunion at my old comp's wedding. SO FUN!

Aaaaand, the Payson temple open house was probably the best, prettiest, most grand and beautiful thing I've ever seen.  If you haven't gone, YOU NEED TO GO. It ends this week! 

What I'm saying is, although I didn't used to like the rain, it's making me change my perspective.  Life doesn't have to be perfect to be absolutely wonderful.  We don't need everything to be happy.  So if it rains on our parade, why don't we just smile and parade on? 



I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about comfort zones.

It's easy for us, as humankind, to stay as we are.  It's comfortable, easy, no effort required.  We can float (instead of kicking our legs) and calmly and easily make it through life.

And yet how fulfilling is that?

I've been craving hard things lately.  I've felt stagnant for the past few months and it's really bothered me.  I want to push myself to my limits and see where my potential really is.  I want to see what is out there for me!  I want to chase my dreams and throw caution to the wind and stretch and grow and feel passionately about the things I'm doing.  I yearn to feel success and achievement.

So what am I doing?

I am going to run a marathon in September.  A full on, 26.2 miles.  It scares the heebie jeebies out of me.  But I want to do it precisely because it scares me.

I am also starting as a Cantonese teacher at the Missionary Training Center.  That also completely freaks me out.  It's going to be an exhausting, tiring, inspiring, mind-boggling, energy-requiring job. One that will humble me a lot and hopefully help me grow.

Before, I never really liked the saying "do something every day that scares you."  That sentence alone scared me.  Now, I'm ready to jump in head-first!  I want to chase my passions and dreams.  I'm finally understanding this:

I don't want to confine myself anymore.  God gave me wings, and I want to fly!



Imagine this. 

You're 5 years old again.  You're learning how to ride a bike.  It's hard work!  You're trying to pedal and balance and steer and look like you're having fun, all while your mom mans the video camera and your dad shouts tips from somewhere behind you because he's just given you a push start.  

Okay, you think, I've got this.

And all of a sudden, you start to fall.  It seems to come in slow motion.  Your heart jumps to your throat and your face is about to meet the pavement.  Your hands come up to break your fall and you feel stinging on the palms of your hands as well as your knees.  The bike lands on top of you and you hear cries of dismay from the people you love that are watching.  

And now, you've got a decision to make.  You can either quit right then and there, or you can get up and do it again.  And again.  And again.  Maybe 10 more times.  Maybe 20.  Until you get it.  

And not only keep moving, but keep trying.  Because it takes practice to learn how to move forward in the first place. Moving is different than trying because once you've learned, you can move forward without really trying.

For instance, a bad day is like a fall on a bike.  Everything comes together to smack you in the face.  all you want to do is sit down and cry, and give up.

But then you remember when you were 5.  And you were learning to ride a bike.  And you wanted to give up so many times, but you didn't. And now you can ride a bike.

Maybe if you get up, get out of bed, brush off the dust now, in the midst of your bad day, you'll look back one day being able to do something you couldn't do once.

And you'll smile. 



This is for YOU.

You, with the long hair. Or short hair. Or no hair. Every mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, friend, neighbor. You are beautiful. Kind. Generous. Soft. Independent. Courageous. Important. Loving. Strong. Inspiring. Smart. Active. Funny. Radiant. Talented. Motivated. Opinionated. Young. Old. You are a woman.

You have struggles.  Perhaps it's junior high, wanting to be included.  Maybe you're in high school, wondering about the future.  You're in college, waiting to be loved.  Or you're a mother, wearing yourself out for your little ones.  You're battling cancer, wishing you could stop the pain. You mourn for lost loved ones.  You live paycheck to paycheck. You want the blessing of children, but haven't been able to conceive.

You also have triumphs.  You received a promotion at work.  You ran a marathon, tears mingled with sweat streaming down your face as you crossed the finish line, hands held high.  You got an A on an important test.  You can smile through the pain.  You made dinner -- and didn't burn it.  You spoke up for something you believed in.  You are a leader.  You made it through yet another day.  Your children learn and grow.

You have a divine role in society.  You aren't a woman on accident.  You were made this way. God made you with all the qualities you possess on purpose.  He loves you.  He loves all of His daughters.

You were meant to shine.

You were meant to be wonderful. 

You were meant to do great things.  Even if those things seem small to other people.

Embrace womanhood.  Embrace you.  Embrace the woman God intended you to be.



These days were the best days of my life.  Seriously.

Serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Hong Kong, China was the best thing I've ever done.

I had the best experiences with the best people and learned soooo much.

Some days, I look back through my pictures and want to be there again.  I want to be a missionary, live in China, serve other people 24/7, eat rice and fish, and be totally immersed in the gospel.

But also, I'm glad to be where I am right now.  The Lord has blessed me a LOT, and I know He's got a grand plan for me.  I have to trust Him exactly like I did on the mission.  I always knew that even when it was hard, He would pull through for us.  The hard things were for our good.  It was easier to see when I was a missionary.

Whit {my sis} emailed yesterday and talked about the hard things of her mission.  And I was reminded for a second of how hard it really was.  I tend to look back at only the good times and good things.  But being in Hong Kong was hard, too.

I guess, no matter where you are in life, the good things are good and the bad things are bad, and it all just depends on what you dwell on.  Happiness or misery.  It's all about our attitude!



  • moms that text/snapchat you back.  alllllll day long.  {i mean you'd think she'd get annoyed. nope.  she's always there with a comment for my texts that are mostly just my continuous train of thought for the day.}
  • friends.  like, best friends.  ones you can be completely and totally 100% yourself with.  ones that celebrate your birthday for 3 days straight and shower you with love and gifts.  ones that you'll never get sick of seeing and being with, because every moment is fun with them, even the moments when you're sprawled in comfortable silence in the living room saying absolutely nothing.  
  • days when you feel pretty.  we all have days when we don't but let's be real...  there's that one day in a million when you wake up and everything seems to go right.  you look in the mirror and you think "hey, she's not half bad" and wink and go about your day, feeing confident.
  • tests with good scores.
  • cloudy skies -- but not too cold outside.  prime.
  • closing your eyes and taking a trip through hong kong's crowded streets in your mind {and you know every detail -- smell, turn, sounds, the works} 
  • aaaaand... these things...
11-year-old wedding dates
missionary sisters!! and asian shrines
{i seriously miss seeing these everywhere}
exhausted stake presidents/dads
a bride and 3 bridesmaids
aka best friends
visits from mission friends
birthday cakes and home

happy love month, everyone <3