Moving with excitement of new chapters

30 July 2015

  "How glorious the splendor of a human heart that trusts that it is loved."

Well, the night is done.  at exactly 10 sharp.  And Ryan and I sit on the close of our first chapter.

My night-colored car is parked just outside the front door and is filled to the brim with my belongings.  Tomorrow begins the move into Ryan and I's new place after we are married.  And Ryan is at a soccer game - I always have his presence accounted for in my mind too. (Haha, why I said "too"??  As if I have to consciously account for my own presence in addition...).  Ryan texted me just before his game, wishing he could be here to help me pack, and also wishing I could be down there so I could be on the sidelines when he scores a goal for me. 

But though the distance separates us, tonight as I packed and carried things in and out of the house, wrapped up glass vases with the sheets on my bed, walked along the kitchen counter to see on the top shelf of every cupboard, I thought about Ryan and I.  Bridal brain.  That's what I keep telling my roommates.  Mostly that means how forgetful I am lately.  Like making eggs for breakfast yesterday and coming home from work to find the shells still on the counter next to the pan - I'VE NEVER DONE THAT!  But the other element of bridal brain is the endless swooning.  I am really really in love with Ryan.  But it's so much so that I find it really difficult to express to other people, as if the extreme passion will make people gag.  But then at the end of the day, I just let this all soak in regardless.  Why halt feelings so strong when it's such a joy to bask in them?

Ryan has always told me he's never experienced someone with a capacity to love like I do.  That I make him feel appreciated and wanted like he's never experienced before.  That makes me feel SO seen and received.  And Ryan is equally loving towards me, saying his passion is ignited even more because of mine.  We fit together in our capacity to love - because approaching love as a talent to continually develop isn't a choice for everyone.  And Ryan seals the deal for me perfectly.

Sturdy and evenly-yoked.  Well-matched, steady, and fluid.  Happy and wonderful!

I am grateful everyday that I found Ryan.  I am joyful every morning to wake up with the thought of being a forever companionship with him. 

As my car is packed outside, we are ready for the second chapter.  Ready to move and to marry.  New spaces, new beginnings.

And living with Ryan and dumping this hour-long commute - YES PLEASE!

Upward and onward,

packed in my car! 

Pictures of Ryan at a prior game :)  Love watching him play.

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Building the union with my body

25 July 2015

Today I was able to have my Saturday Morning Miracle Hours.

This is where I keep at least 2-4 hours unencumbered every Saturday morning to spend my time doing what feels my canteen the absolute fullest - working out, writing, meditating, reading.  I take all the amount of time I can get, really.  But 2 hours is the minimum.  And fighting and protecting this little space of mine has become very important. 

And today, I spent all the time working out and just being with my body.  I really believe the body is more powerful and enduring than we think it is.  Moreso than just building my body, I am in love with developing my relationship with it.  I always enjoy pushing it to new extremes and gaining confidence in its capacity and vigor.

This morning, I roll out of bed, still smelling like bonfire smoke from last night's adventure in the forest with Ryan, his brother, and his wife (LOVE them!!), and I go down to our cool basement and complete a work-out video.  I amplify each routine with weights or cardio, and I concentrate on the muscles lifting.  I still feel energy, so I do a complete second video, and amplify the routines with my own twists.  Still feeling more force in my body, I go outside to the backyard stairs that lead to the roof of our garage, and I begin a challenge that I invented for myself awhile back.  I do knee-highs at the base of the stairs for a bit, up the stairs, and then knee-highs at the top for a bit.  I do this five times, which is the distance I feel is my breaking point.  But after five rounds, I feel confident in the endurance of my body, so I complete the full circuit again, concentrating on the muscles at war so they can complete this round.  My body is conquered, but I feel so confident.

I go back inside and Ryan is still fast asleep in the other room.  I love seeing him sleeping there so peacefully, and I feel overwhelmed with love for him, so I write him a note and slip it into the cover of his phone.

Still feeling like I can give more, I go back outside with the sun and the fresh air.  I head off to do another challenge I invented for myself - running up the steep foothills behind my house.  I run as far as I can up the mountain, until my body cries for a stopping point.  Instead of stopping, I pick a place far ahead, equal to the distance I just ran, and tell my body that is the goal.  To complete this challenge, I hone in on the exerting muscles.  Beckoning each one individually.  Right quad - lift.  Left quad - lift.  Right. Left.  I stay present with my muscles until I reach the top.  I bend over panting to let my body release all the pain, slapping my thighs to ease the burn.  Then I lightly run back down the mountain, meditating on the flex of my lower abs to soften the landing on my knees the whole way down. Once the steep hill as flattened to a slow descend, I sprint home.

My body is very satisfied with its hard efforts.  And now I have the endorphin high, and my thoughts are bonkers and fantastic all at the same time.

Two and a half hours later, my Saturday Morning Miracle Hours are complete, and my smokey Ryan just woke up.  It's time for me to shower and then some snuggle time.  :)

Upward and onward,

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A taste of being Ryan's girl

24 July 2015

I am going to make a space in my life for writing more, particularly about Ryan and all the joy therein.  And okay, if I could pick a favorite emotion - anticipation!  (in my book, that's an emotion, roll with me here).  And there is a bubbling anticipation inside of me because hunting season is coming up,  just after Ryan and I get married (IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS!!!) and move into our perfectly quaint apartment (:) :) :)  a serious score!!).  I'm feeling the giddy anticipation to marry Ryan, and the joyous anticipation to move into our home, and I'm also SO excitedly anticipatory for the boundless amount of time I'll have to curl up and write about Ryan while he's out hunting for a couple weeks.  (Ryan and I fell in love during hunting season last year.  Distance makes the heart grow wild.)

Anyway, because as I sit on a rock beside a creek this evening, watching Ryan and his brother stand shoulder-to-shoulder, balancing on the logs of a beaver dam, casting their lines upstream to catch us some fish for tinfoil dinners, I think about how these are the magical moments that I want to capture now and bring back to life again when we are older. There are so many with Ryan every day.  And it's been hard for me to create the time and the space of mind to write as much as I would have liked over the last year of us falling in love because I was shifting around professionally so much. But now with the launch of my business and the wedding bells for Ryan and I, I have settled in to a very secure, flexible, and exciting place.  All is so so well for me!   So, it's so important for me to continue to create space for what brings me the most value. And Ryan writing is very important to me. Ryting. And I pledge to myself right now to put out of my mind all the things that dissuade me from writing here or seek to keep my time jammed.  Words, here's my vow to you!

And to begin, today has been perfect!  Ryan made me breakfast, all healthy and green, just the way we like it around here!  Gosh it helps immensely to be with someone who eats the same way as I do.  And then we packed up to spend the day shooting guns with Roger and Naikaya in the middle of Egypt.  Or somewhere in equal distance away.  And I mostly sat under this one lone tree and read an entire book about fertility.  (THE FEMALE BODY!  It's amazing and powerful and so well-understood when one finally gets to the point of sitting under a tree in a desert and putting in the time to learn it).  Then Ryan invited me over to shoot his big fancy gun.  I sat down, aimed for the teeny target over 100 yards away, and nailed that sucker right in the center.  Bam!  Just like that.  Aaaand, I had my face too close to the scope and the kick of the gun rammed me in the eyebrow, and now I got a nice little goose egg :)  After that, I happily took my bullseye and then exempted myself from further shooting.

All day, I have loved watching Ryan.  I have always loved watching Ryan, since the start of our relationship.  He knows how to do everything, and he does it all with such precision and intelligence.  I fell in love with him just watching him.  He does everything spot on, and I have so much respect for this element of exactness he so seamlessly holds.  And then you start talking to him, and his intelligence bounds threw the roof.  I fall weak knee-ed at such smarts.  And then his dry humor pokes through the cracks, and I am. a. goner.  I'm totally Ryan's biggest fan.

And now here we are, in the mountain tops.  The boys are fishing in the streams for our dinner; the bed of Ryan's truck is packed with veggies to make a tin foil dinner buffet, and he's already prepared an appetizer tray of his smoked elk summer sausage, crackers, and cheese.  And after we feast, we are going to snuggle under the stars and snack on s'mores.  Life with this guy is far above par.  So so happy. 

So here's to you and me, baby! I'll give you a kiss later because you are running up from the creek right now waving a fish in your hand. Time for our dinner :)

Upward and onward,

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The quitter winner

21 July 2015

And also, on the front of all my bridal stir, other happenings abound.  Ahem,

I quit my job.

And to immediately sooth the corresponding nauseous nerves from doing so, I drove downtown and got a pap smear.  Because when life suddenly becomes unstrung, make sure you don't have cervical cancer.  And I don't.  So after THAT was squared away, great, now life, what do I do?

Well, I could share what demotivated me enough to make the choice to quit, OR I could share what switched in my brain and emboldened me to make the choice to quit.  Sometimes reaching such a place of discouragement allows for the boldest decisions

So I'll tell my work tale as simply put as I can: despite that working my way up in corporate ranks until I was a financial analyst for a sleek company was always my dream!!!  Seriously, being the right-hand woman for the President of a business saying, yes you are making money, or no you are not and I can tell you why - feels AWESOME!  And that was my life.  Except....  well, turns out..  BOSSES.  Seriously, nothing is more demotivating to me than plunking away at a keyboard underneath an authority that I don't respect.  Due to incompetence, lack of communication, micro managing, etc.  For all my gumption and passion at this job, I was so very stifled.  I could only work to the level of my superior, which was a very poor level and reflected insufficiency and absurdity onto both of us.  Which greatly demotivated me because it wasn't me.  I did my best anyways, but my wits were sizzled gone.  And finally, I had a heart-to-heart with my superior, expressing the extreme dissatisfaction I felt and the complete lack of communication and processes that I felt were needed for our team.  Which severely infiltrate my ability to perform, and how am I to overcome the severe difficulty of this situation when I hold no power to improve the communication or processes or proficiency.  And then I walked across the building, stepped into The President's office, and slid the door shut behind me to privately make a case for serious high-up assistance.  And that President man is very, very intimidating, but he turned out to be so genuinely validating and kind and agreeable with me, feeling similar to me on many points.  

So after some attempted improvements from both of these men over the next month or so, when my resignation notice slid across their desks, it couldn't be denied that they both didn't see it coming.  And then basically everyone in the whole company whispered into my ear as their goodbyes were given, "Good for you in getting out of that position."  So, yes that job was great, but at the same time, nope it also was not.

But, that resignation was far from a mark of my defeat.  Though it felt that way coming to it.  But something switched in my brain as I got closer to that choice, and that resignation became my sign to the universe of my commitment.  I am burning my boats.  Which is what Fernando Cortez told his crew when they reached the Americas.  "Get off our ships and simply look for treasure?  Keep this place of safety for us to run back to when times are rough?  Ha, NO!  We are going to make this happen or die trying.  There is no other option.  So, burn the boats."  Which really weights the  outcome towards success.  That was the level of commitment to his courageous journey and that was decidedly mine as well.

And so, my career, as I always wanted it to be, was gone, and what does this Idealist Brunette always do?  Keep chasing the dream.  I know the feeling of a job so fulfilling and satisfying and empowering that motivation and joy abounds!  I've had that.  The free-flow every day!  And I know how miserable day-to-day life becomes just trudging through a really crappy situation.  I've had that too (Note: all this last year!!)  And well, I have enough courage, and also anxiety, to keep hunting until I find the former.

And Ryan, oh boy.  GOSH, that guy.  He was a supporter through every step.  Through the angst of the job, the fear of my jump, the tears of uncertainty.  He served as my business advisor and talked me through many possibilities. That guy is smart!  After many talks, and dates, and late-night phone calls, he helped me to stamp down a flag of victory.  The decision stood, with a very solid plan underneath:

I will start my own business.

And now I'm on my 2nd week of being an independent little lady, who stands in her kitchen at 9 am and drinks milk from the jug, because who needs to be where and when - NOT ME!!  (Though in actuality, I'm starting with a working partnership with another company so I do have accountability of many sorts, but still SO much more freedom).  And I'm getting more traction under me by the day, gathering some clients, building my confidence - because dang, I am GOOD at being a CPA.  I'm LOVING this life!  Today I had my first client referral because I did such good work for one lady she immediately called her mom who called me an hour later and wanted to hire me.  This is so much fun and SO fulfilling!  I mean, it definitely started off with a Monday-morning, sit-straight-up-in-bed, immediately put my hands on either side of my face, and scream internally "WHAT IN THE FREAK DID I DO?????"  And then a complete break-down accompanied with a blessing, and then Ryan saying, "um, are you okay? What just happened?"  And I'm all, "oh, meet Franx, also known as Freaking Anxiety."

But as I keep gaining momentum, I know I've reached that place of fulfillment I've long desired.  And last night, when I called Ryan on my way home from work, he told me how proud of me he was.  Later he texted and said, "I knew you were going to be a good entrepreneur, but I am seriously blown away at just how good you actually are." Let's all start frantically knocking on every wooden fixture around us.

And also let this note stand: trying to start a business AND plan a wedding at the same time..  HAHAHA.  That's all I have to say about that.  But I am doing both, so there, done.  I am truly marrying my match.  A guy who loves Excel as much as I do and knows how to get. stuff. done.

Thanks Franx.

Upward and onward,

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Popcorn face love

20 July 2015

I can't sleep because I'm awake.  Haha!  duh.

I'm awake because I'm thinking about Ryan.

The joy I feel is overflowing to a degree of happiness I've never experienced.  He is the best decision I have made, and he is the best decision I will make over and over again for the rest of my life.

The other night, a friend had just left my home after a really heartfelt, purging conversation (Heidi, you BEAUTY!!).  And Ryan and I were getting ready to finish the edited version of Braveheart (LOVE), and as I'm scrolling through Instagram while Ryan sets up the video, I come across a post Ryan had worked on while I was with my friend that was all about his respect for me.  Oh man, reading Ryan's perspective and joy over me.  One of the things that I hold most dear to me over the course of mine and Ryan's relationship are all the specific moments he has told me his deep view of me.  I can remember exactly where we were, exactly how I felt full of light.  To feel seen by someone, someone like him, is incredible.

And this was one of the most powerful of those moments.

He explained the things he admires about me, making me seem so brilliant and classy.  As I read while shoving full-fisted amounts of popcorn in my mouth, ignoring the grease all over my hands and face.  And then I looked up at him, grimy and speckled with popcorn-crumbs, and he's smiling mischievously at me, knowing words have a HUGE hold on my heart, and I tell him, "I am going to go upstairs and wash all this mess off me, and when I come back down, well, you better just hide ......"

So I clean myself up and come back downstairs.  Sure enough, he's hiding.  behind the couch.  underneath a blanket.

So, I rip the blanket off and snuggle his brains out.  It's how we do.

Here's to two people with the exact same love languages.  So much love that it keeps me awake at night. 

Upward and onward,

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To Portland for a Wedding!

06 July 2015

Ryan and I took a trip to Portland last weekend.  

It was scheduled because of my cousin's wedding, but I extended the trip so that Ryan and I could have a few days to stay with my dear friend Christina and her family.  And though the purpose of this trip was indeed the wedding, we took zero pictures of that, but we sure captured many other adventures.  And I'm just going to say right here, while staying in my friend's house with three toddlers, sleep was so so sparse.  So by the time Ryan and I got home, we were so exhausted that never have we needed a vacation from a vacation more than this one.

But, onto our weekend in pictures!

Ry and I at the Portland airport, waiting for Christina's husband and the kiddos to come pick us up.  I am quite the fan of plane rides!  All the reading time my heart desires.

Since we arrived in Portland around dinner time on Thursday, we spent the evening at Christina's house, touring all her fantastic home renovation and design - she is quiet the DIYer and has an eye for decor (she was actually the inspiration behind my first business).  We ate dinner in the backyard, which is like a forest in Portland.  About halfway through dinner, Ryan and I learned the REAL reason we were eating outside.  Because rice in the grass takes much better than rice on the kitchen floor.  No clean-up!  We read the kids a story, tucked them in their little tent, and then stayed up talking with Christina's nightly and heavenly chocolate chip cookies!

The next day, we drove up to Mount St. Helen's and went hiking in the caves.  There was a family friendly lower-cave and a more intermediate upper-cave.  We were on a time crunch due to the sealing that evening, so Ryan and I split to give the upper-cave a shot.  We went as far in as we could until we sensed our time was due and we turned around.  We shimmied our little butts through mud puddles of the cave, climbed over huge mountains of rocks, and we counted how many times the stalactites dripped on us.  Ryan kept telling me it was bat pee.  I won!  (or lost, if we're being technical about NOT wanting bat pee running down the back of your neck).  I love adventuring with this guy!!  We have the best conversations, and he's just fun!

The next morning, Taylor had to go to work and Christina went for a run, so I made breakfast and played with the kiddos.  I fed them fruit loops and fruit for breakfast, and they had to name animals and food the color of the bowls and cups before I would give it to them.  Smart little ones.  Then I galvanized the kids to join me in my daily lower back exercises.  It's like swimming on the ground, and they sure got a kick out of it.

Afterwards, we went yard-selling for awhile, because Christina's neighborhood was having the annual community sale.  It was so fun, and after some dirt bike cables for Ryan and a free ab workout bench for me, Ryan and I decided to give this scene a shot back in Utah! 

Then, we all packed up and headed out to the Oregon Coast!  First we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and sampled all the cheeses probably more than we were allowed to.  But again, three toddlers.  Then we stopped at the beach and Ryan built a sandcastle with Alvin, and I kept Chloe warm after a nice face plant into the ocean.  Then we went to tour a little lighthouse!  The walk down there was a beautiful little scenic pass, and Ryan and I darted back and forth to the viewing points like we were two kids ourselves. Then we took Alvin with us through the tour.

Then we had to race back home so we could go to my cousin's reception.  It was so fun to hang out with my family and see my mom, Devin, and Brennan.  The three of us, of course, took on our usual role of jokester cousins, telling each other jokes that made us laugh and laugh.  Then we rallied my favorite accomplice cousin Jarae and played a bunch of funny games on the groomsmen and friends, laughing and laughing some more.  Then, due to the insane detail in wedding decor, we stayed several hours after the reception to help clean up.  Ryan was such a STUD about everything!  He worked right alongside the rest of the family in cleaning everything up!

Then we sunk into a few hours of sleep at my uncle's house, and then my family dropped us off at the airport the next morning.

The only picture I got with family - sporting three generations of teal-lovers:

And for good memory, my favorite picture of Jarae and Devin at the wedding reception (during our clean-up hours):

And my travel reading (which I have decided to add at the end of all my travel posts - including my travel posts of the past -because I usually finish a book or two on every trip - my best reading time!!):

****  - the writing and language is INCREDIBLE!  Plot line - meh.

Upward and onward,

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Anchoring in deep roots

05 July 2015

The way I see it, the world is growing more loose, myself included - even given my best restraint.  And I don't allude to the morality of it all (or lack thereof), but the looseness of anchor.  The way we yield ourselves to less and less of things of mass, of depth, of value.  Things that are not transient or peripheral, but solid and everlasting.  Investing our time into intense study, which gives our character the attention it needs to keep uprooting and perfecting.  Instead, Satan keeps working to disintegrate our muscle of discipline so that we become sustained from a "flopping" kind of existence.  Flopping from one stimulation to the next.  Never letting our roots really sink into anything of value.

But I love this quote about how anchored Christ isHe is so effective because His power comes from such a deep place.  It inspires me to be more of the same type of person.  Slow down, and give real, focused energy to what matters.  What really lifts and makes life all around me better.

"The Lord woks from the inside out.  The world works from the outside in.  The world would take people out the slums.  Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums.  The world would mold men by changing their environment.  The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature."  Ezra Taft Benson

Upward and onward,

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An engagement in Park City & the mountains!

04 July 2015

It was a Wednesday, June 24 to be exact, so I can remember this date in the future to hold a mini celebration for us in years to come.  

It was right in the middle of the work week, and Ryan invited me on a date to Park City, to the fanciest steak house in town.  We were leaving to Portland the following evening, and he wanted to make sure we had a date night that week.

He picked me up from work and we drove through the canyon.  We wandered through a nice Park City resort, observing all the grandiose furniture and mahogany wood and the populated pool outside.  Then we made our way into the adjoining restaurant next door.   We are the diners who sit on the same side of the bench, ya know, those people you make fun of at restaurants.  Yep, that is proudly us.  And we dined on fish for me, and steak for him.  Our favorites. 

Afterwards, we drove through Park City, then down the canyon.  Ryan veered off the road just north of Provo, and we began to ascend a mountain to do some hiking.  We drove up the mountain for awhile, and then stopped at a peculiar-looking meadow.  It was a vast opening in the middle of the forest of bright green grass.  We both noted how it looked like a Hobbitville, so we climbed out of his truck to do some exploring.  We explored the meadow right as the sun was setting on the far end, casting the most beautiful light over the grass.  We spotted many deer, including a tiny tiny little fawn.  And later, a skunk.

Then we drove to another part of the mountain to explore.  We walked out onto the ledge of a cliff, finding a 360 view of ascending mountains and a peek through the canyon to see Utah Lake.  it was BEAUTIFUL!!!  We stood for awhile, looking all around in awe.

Then we drove to a more secluded place with a campfire and a perfect view of the city lights and Utah Lake.  We nestled in Ryan's double-seater camp chair and snuggled up.  I knew Ryan was getting serious when he invested in a his/her connected camp chair :)  After talking for awhile, Ryan said there was something he had to confess.  And then he pulled out a ring box and got down on one knee.  


He proposed, saying how much he wanted to marry me.  After a whole lot of hugging, he said there was more.  He had written me a letter.  Certainly the best letter I've ever read!!!!

I'll share one little excerpt, and keep the rest for my own personal treasure.  :)

"To Chantel, The Love of My Life:"

"This last year dating you has been the best year of my life.  I know that marriage and life in general will have its ups and downs for us, but there is no one I would rather have by my side through all of that than you! I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing woman who is so incredibly committed to me and in love with me. I know that a marriage is what you make of it, and I know that both of us are people who make things happen! Because of that, we will make an awesome marriage and family. I promise you that I will be committed and loyal. I will be your trustworthy companion. I will be the man you have always wanted, leading, protecting, and loving you and our children. I want nothing more than to build a home that is filled with the love of God and the Spirit of God. I want to be that strong priesthood holder that provides leadership and stability for our family."

The next day, we decided to make the announcement public.  The reaction of our friends and family was PHENOMENAL!!  It reminded me of my birthday, the day of the year I feel royally valued and loved by the people in my life.  But this experience was times 1,000.  

Ryan and I had such a fun time texting our closest friends, and then putting a picture on social media for the rest of the world to discover.  People's joy and love astounded me!  The way people rejoice over your happiness was so incredible to me!  Several of my friends were so happy for me that they were brought to tears.  Which made me feel sooooo touched by how much my happiness could mean so much to other people.  Ryan's family was so welcoming and excited to have me be a part of their family, many of his 9 siblings texting me and writing me little messages.  

It was one of the most loving experiences I've had. 

And Ryan.  I am SOOOO excited.  Everything feels so surreal.  And yet it feels as though this has always been.  He is a good good good match for me.  The best I've ever had.  We will be married and sealed together on August 15 in the Jordan River temple.

From Ryan's sister Nachelle:  

(I want to post more of the responses from people.  They were SO touching.  I will collect them and add them in for my own memory).

Upward and onward, 

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