What you dwell on, expands

29 August 2016

This evening, Ryan came through the door talking to his mom on the phone.  While I matted pictures in our Family Room, he sat across from me in the blue chair, swinging his legs over the arm rest, and continued catch up with his mom.  Depending on his answers, I could tell what she had just asked him about.

She had asked him about business, and Ryan's response struck me.  He told her that of course work is always full of up's and down's.  And the company did just run into a bit of a snag, but overall, the company continues to move up and up, and he is pleased with the growth and the progress.

Well, I happen to know what that snag is. And I know for a fact that if it were me talking to my mom, I would have broken open the details and riled myself up with a slue of complaining  The conversation would have ended with a total downward energy.

But, Ryan has a way of keeping proper perspective on things and always seeing the best, propelling the energy always upward.  Not just in people, but in life.  And not because he's not being "real," which is what I've tricked myself into believing about myself.  I'm just being "real" as I think negative thoughts and complaints.  When people ask me how things are going about a topic, in my efforts to be "real," I actually just unload the dirty underside.  I could reveal the top coat, which is just as reveal, and propels the energy in a better place.  Ryan always pursues a more positive energy in how he views everything, and I know that comes back to him in more goodness.  I know when I dwell on the negative, it keeps expanding.

So for that night, I committed to never opening my mouth if a negative thought came through.  And if it did, I consciously flipped it around to a positive lens. It really did wonders on the confidence I feel towards my own life!  For all the downward thoughts I feel, I can always, always, always find the upward side of it.

I am making a firm commitment to doing this.


10/26/2016 - On a later note, this positivity that I see in Ryan is something I have really focused on in myself.  It has made such a difference!  I always express to Ryan when I see this quality in him, and it is all. the. time.  And I have noticed a shift in my own views - the same things I saw before, I now see in a much better way.  I'm really grateful for this improved momentum in my life.

Upward and onward,


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Bamboo Shoots and Love

25 August 2016

I read this quote today from Meg and immediately thought of when I first met Ryan:

Have we ever talked about Chinese bamboo farmers? That bamboo takes seven years, give or take, to start growing above ground? Chinese bamboo farmers water their bamboo every day for seven years - seven! - with no question that it will, eventually, shoot up towards the sky. The farmers, they dutifully water and nourish their bamboo, nothing seemingly changing, and then bam: it pokes through the ground with such force you can hear it creaking as it grows. It strikes me that we've both been watering our bamboo with the kind of faith and dedication of a Chinese farmer, and Meg: it's paying off. We'll see shoots, sure enough, and then we won't quite believe how gloriously and tall and wonder pushy it grows.

Ryan was my bamboo shoot that sprouted after years and years of being on the tumble dry setting in a dating sphere.  I appreciated my time in that place, mostly.  But boy, do I remember moments of peeling the words of my heart up to God.  A slow, extremely concentrated, carefully said so I could get one maximum pull, earnest beyond earnest plea to Heavenly Father to sprout the dang bamboo shoot.  And then Ryan came.  And after just a few moments together, I knew he was someone I wanted to exclusively invest myself in.  He was the greatest mystery man, and I was beyond intrigued.  I remember feeling so awakened by him that my energy was limitless.  I would pop out of bed before the sun every single day in those first couple months, and I would sprint around the mountains by my house, thinking about him, being so so excited about him!  After just a few months, I knew I could marry him.  Of course I didn't express that out loud, because I needed some proper time and exposure to him in a variety of settings.  But my heart and soul just knew it.  

Ryan received a new calling - First Counselor in the Young Men's Presidency.  The bishopric wanted him in that calling so badly, but they didn't want to disrupt our new growing family or anything.  But God wants people where He needs them, and He'll make it work.  So Ryan was called and given so many new roles on the first day.  That is a calling that is very layered.  

So last night was Ryan's first mutual activity.  Since it was a combined YW/YM evening, I tagged along.  At the end of the night, one of the young woman that we also teach in our Sunday School class came and sat next to me.  She said that she really admired mine and Ryan's relationship, that she had been watching us that night.  I told her that someday would be her time, and she is going to love it!  I see a lot of myself in this girl.  It made me feel really happy.  

Upward and onward,


Eve's Incredibly Spiritually Apt Mind

"The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat."

Dr. Aschenasy, a Hebrew scholar said: "In Hebrew, beguiled does not mean "tricked" or "deceived", as commonly thought. Rather, the Hebrew word is a rare verb that indicates an intense experience evoking great emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual trauma. It is likely that Eve's intense, multilevel experience, this "beguiling" by the serpent, was the catalyst that caused Eve to ponder and evaluate what her role in the Garden really was."
Satan's [deceptive efforts] were not enough to deceive Eve into blindly eating the fruit. What it DID do was beguile her: made her question, made her doubt, and sent her on a soul-searching journey.

(Taken from WomenInTheScriptures.com)


Rescuing the Lost Lamb

20 August 2016

This image has so much meaning to me.  It is my depiction of personal rescuing from my Savior.  And now, the background of my phone.

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I came across this picture when I was sitting in Relief Society, reading Daughters in my Kingdom before the meeting started.  (I love connecting with that book before Relief Society.  It grounds me to the nobility of womanhood).

This particular Sunday was in the middle of tax season.  Oh, and also, the middle of my first trimester in pregnancy.  Which meeeeans - extreme work load and all my B vitamins being used up for baby.  And what do you get with Cortisol minus B Vitamins??   ... unruly trepidation!

Seriously though.  Anxiety up the wall.  Panic about everything.  Illogical surges of fearful energy coursing my veins.

It's so much fun.  I love it so much.    ...     ...     ...

Anyway, I was reading my book and turned the page to this image.  It was beautifully framed on the page, and it instantly spoke to me.  I saw my normal mind reflected in the purity of all the white sheep, but my moments of battling with anxiety as the little black sheep.  The one sheep in Christ's arms.  He is tending her, caring for her, rescuing her, and nursing her back to health.  He is holding me.

He holds us in weakness.  He is willing to be our crutch and stronghold, until we resume our strength.  Or for me in this particular case - He holds me until I regain clarity and resilience of mind.  And then He places me back down to walk more independently.

But in every moment I need His assistance, He will be there for me.

So comforting.

I gather endless peace from meditating with this photo.  I'm currently looking for a print to hang in our bedroom, so I can see it first thing when I wake up.

Upward and onward,

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Emotional Expression

19 August 2016

Awake at 4 am.  I had an interesting dream that preceded a slue of good thoughts.  Now it's 4:30 and I'm writing about it.  Good time to prepare for Baby and our soon-to-be midnight hours together.

~Dream~  Ryan and I were walking through a common area - a hotel or something.  People from the ward were out and about.  There was a young woman - Sara (name change) - 15 years old, and she was upset.  She was walking towards her family and shrieking loudly and crying.  It was a scene.  I remember being taken aback in my dream.  Her emotions were so vigorous and loud in public, thinking "how mildly inappropriate," and "this is how she must act around her family."

And suddenly, I greatly appreciated it and loved her immensely. 

Ryan proceeded to our room, or wherever we were headed, and I went over to her.  I asked if I could join her, and then I just put my arms around her.  Not to comfort her out of her emotions, but to show my appreciation for her expression and join in.  I sat down by her and told her that I was a lot like her.  I felt emotions powerfully and without restraint sometimes.  Sometimes they flooded me too.  And of course we would  feel that way with everything that happens to us in life, and I love that she is releasing that!  I have things I need to release as well!  And then I gave her my blue calcite stone to carry and told her that this gem releases negative energy and converts it to positive energy.

Then I woke up.

And I laid in bed, my mind on its own unstoppable journey, thinking more fully about this.

I thought about emotional expression and how necessary it is, and how it should be more welcomed.  Like I always say, I can't push on the side of a ship and make it turn, but I can row my own boat in the best direction I choose.  So I won't speak for how the world or how society needs to be.  But in my world, emotional expression is celebrated!

To that girl's emotional outburst, my initial reaction was like, "whoa, stop it; that's inappropriate."  But when I paused and thought about how I could absolutely relate to life being unjust, aggravating, overwhelming, and this girl was just having an active moment of some combination of those.  Maybe her expression seemed out of place to me for a second, but once I related to it, I felt liberated as well.  Yes!  Life is confusing.  It's painful.  It's heart-breaking sometimes.  May I please take some of this space you've opened up to freely express yourself and release some of my own self too? 

And once value and even priority is shown towards emotional release, then the vital conversation of "releasing etiquette," so to speak, can be had.  The proper way to release emotions; proper time; proper place, etc.  Because that is important too.  But I see people trying to control or disapprove of other's emotional expressions all the time, and it's okay.  Express.  Release.  Feel.  Liberate.  That is so highly esteemed in my book.  Now, perhaps, we can talk about the ways to do that.  Ways that will be most effective and safe.

I thought of how I am going to teach my children this.  Sharla and I talk about this a lot.  My child is upset.  Kneel down so I'm at her level.  "Gosh yes, it IS so frustrating to be curious about a treat at the store and be denied that experience.  Disappointment.  Anger.  This is true what you are feeling!  I get disappointed and mad when some things happen in my life too.  What do you say we go to a park after we're done grocery shopping and let ourselves freely express this frustration?"

I thought of how there are designated smoking areas - places designed for us to poison our powerful and respectable bodies (ha!).  But, what if we had designated places for free emotional expression.  I'm imagining walking through an airport, and instead of a glass room for smokers to congregate, instead there is a room for people to enter and release some emotion while they wait for their plane.  Punching bags, typing machines, coloring books, soundproof rooms to scream and punch pillows, loud music and mirrors to dance.  And it's all completely acceptable.  Business people entering, throwing several punches and screams, then exiting and onto their work trip, feeling more free and light.  Everyone just understands that life is bothersome and aggravating and vexing, and we let it out.  It's as normal as a purchasing a pre-flight book.

Relating to the waves of voices on gun control.  I won't state my opinion, because I don't want this to be political.  But what if these people had access to locations of free emotional expression?  Places where they felt safe and allowed to give attention to their deepest heart aches.  Because those are not easy to come by.  Oh your father abandoned you as a child?  Gosh, I would feel worthless too.  I would have anger and sadness as well.  You must know that your feelings are allowed and valuable.  Keep screaming, my friend.

I thought about how last week, when Ryan and I were preparing for a trip and I was in our home, all by myself, making some zucchini bread.  The house was completely still and silent, except for me baking and the wanderings of my own mind.  My mind wandered into a room that held some strong emotions I was not aware were still as active and heated as they were.  They were powerful, and I was flooded instantly, feeling an immense weight as I began shoulder-shuddering cries.  I texted Sharla and told her of the situation and my strong emotional reaction - I couldn't think properly, being overtaken by my grievances.  She immediately offered me some clear insight on ways I could emotionally release.  Go to my room and punch a pillow.  Scream.  Get down on the floor and kick through a temper tantrum.  So I started beating the mixture of zucchini bread that I had been concocting.  I stirred with force and animation, letting out yelps and cries.  I beat that batter, letting it fly up into my hair, allowing myself to cry heartily.  In minutes, the emotions had left, and I felt better than before, realizing I had been growing a subconscious frustration over that situation, and now it was released, probably needing another release about it in the future.  I then proceeded cooking and my emotions were more free and peaceful than before.

Who needs a Kitchen Aid mixer when one has repressed emotions?

I just strongly believe in emotional expression.  In not feeling controlled by the emotions, not victim to their force, not unconsciously run by them.  But like temporary companions to them, greeting them when they show up, allowing them to have a voice, and then letting them roam free again.  Them - unattached.  And us - wiser and more connected to all things and people around us.

That's why I think emotional expression is a beautiful thing.  (So much symbolism to the starting picture of a waterfall).

To be what I am... To voice the things that only I can voice. To bear the blossoms that are commanded of my heart. This is what I want... ~Rainer Maria Rilke

We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit.
—  Audre Lorde

Upward and onward,


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The Love of My Life

18 August 2016

I love Ryan so much.

Just that sentence is too simple for how much I feel for him.

This afternoon, he left for the opening day of hunting season.  He will be home tomorrow night, probably after I've fallen into sleep.  Like last spring when he came home from a trip at 4 am, and I was beyond excited to see him.  Though he was exhausted from a long drive, I heard him come him and bounded out of bed like a million Christmas mornings jolted into one moment.

And now, he's only been gone five hours, but I feel his absence so much.  If I ever lost him, I don't think I'd recover from that pain.  He will be home tomorrow.

Oh man, I really care about this man.

I love Ryan with such an intensity that I can't figure out how to properly release how much I feel for him.  When contained, it feels like a gathering explosion within me.  I tell myself that I can probably make the most of these acute love swells by just spreading them into a daily consistency in my love expressions for Ryan.  I feel guilty for moments when I'm stacked with tiredness and stress, and I have a burst of impatience.  It's always small, because I love and respect Ryan too much to ever mistreat him, so I closely monitor myself for when I need a moment of solitude for myself.  He deserves the best treatment.

I'm just so grateful for him.  He truly is my best friend.  Of course that will be true simply because I spend more time with him than anyone else in the world.  But it's not just true because of that default.  It's true because of the qualities he manifests towards me.  He is sooooo loving and supportive towards me.  He is unconditional in love, without guile, full of humility and trust and honesty and intelligence.  He is wonderful in so many ways.

I love you, Ryan.

Upward and onward,

Our One Year Anniversary Celebration

17 August 2016

Ryan and I celebrated our first year anniversary yesterday evening.

It was a better date than I ever could have imagined.

Really, this was a better year than I ever could have imagined.  We bought a house; we have a baby on the way; we are both enjoying and thriving in our careers; we feel really connected to each other and to God.  Life is just as it should be!  And yet we are still set on learning and becoming even more.

I scheduled massages for us right as work was ending.  We met at the massage studio, though I was running late, and though we had massages in separate rooms, we enjoyed meeting up afterwards and sharing our experiences while drinking their insanely refreshing coconut water.

Afterwards we hopped in Ryan's truck, and he announced dinner reservations just a little ways north.  Of course this man of mine would treat me well on our anniversary!  He took me to one of the fanciest restaurants - a new one in town that neither of us had ever stepped foot into - Tiburon.  The lighting was low, design dark, just as fine dining restaurants aim to be.  It's intimate and feel so private.  I laughed with Ryan because while driving to the massage studio with a grumbling stomach, I thought I would suggest Golden Corral for dinner afterwards, haa!  What a joke after finding out this surprise of Ryan's!  He is so good at setting up reservations and planning out evenings for us!

We set down at our table and took little time ordering our food.  For him, steak.  And myself, lamb.  The courses proceeded so fluidly, waiters transitioning our plates and next rounds so seamlessly.  First bread with a red pepperish spread.  Then apple and candied pecan salads.  Then cantaloupe sherbet to cleanse our pallets.  Which I found funny because it was a small orange scoop in a little cup and looked like a true round bite of cantaloupe.  But then you dip your spoon into a melty, sweet ice mixture.  Really delicious.  Then, our entrees.  And hooooly cow.  That was one of the best plates of food I ever had.  The flavors were so intricate.  A blueberry, mushroom, wine reduction on my lamb slices.  A buttery, sugary butternut squash.  A savory, cheesy rissoto.  Beans and squashes.  It was all so layered and rich.  I loved it, and Ryan loved how much I loved it.

We laughed and had great conversation throughout the meal.  Then we returned home where we watched an episode of one of our favorite shows and snuggled on the couch.

Then we retired to bed, where Ryan laid next to me with his hand on my stomach, as he always does, while we read scriptures and talked.  He loves feeling Baby Girl move and squirm.  He sometimes puts his head to my stomach and talks with her.  I love how much he already wants to be connected with her.  He is already an amazing father.  I don't think it would be possible for me to love him any more than I do.  When Baby Girl comes and I see him hold her, I might cave into a bumbling mess of emotion.

Ryan is so perfect for me.  I loved this evening.  A beautiful celebration in honor of us.  I am so focused on how much I love him that I forget I'm an honorary member in this celebration as well.  We have created this splendid relationship together.  I am very, very happy.

And of course, as always, before Ryan drifts off to sleep, he says to me:

Goodnight, Princess.


Moments with Ryan on our Trip to Orlando

06 August 2016

Ryan and I went to Orlando, Florida this week for his annual work convention.  It was incredible!  We had such a good time!  He had classes all day, while I worked from the hotel room / poolside on all my clients.  Can anything be more dreamlike?  Then in the evenings, we'd go out with Ryan's sales team for food and activities.  So much fun!  Below I recorded moments about Ryan from each day of the week.  My love for him is overflowing.


Last night, we stayed up late talking in our hotel room.  Talking really deeply about life.  For hours we lay next to each other, both feeling so connected and engaged in each others inner lives.  We laugh, we kiss, we are happy.  I feel so bonded and so content.  I love that he is so open and receiving to everything in my mind, everything I think about and experience.  He always shows such interest and care for what I say.

I sit at the vanity table of the hotel and listen to Ryan get some work done before we head out for breakfast.  He leads his employees with such authority but clear purpose and vision.  I admire the way he can organize his sales force and come up with new strategies all the time.  A respectful and open company culture is really important to him, and I love that so much.  He is the truest leader I've ever witnessed.  If I didn't have this opportunity to be his wife, I would instead pray to be his employee.

I join Ryan after his classes are over.  Apparently he made some comments in one of the classes that caught a lot of people's attention.  He pointed out something that had been overlooked by corporate that could be really benefiting all of the other franchises.  For the rest of the night, Ryan was the genius business owner that everyone wanted to speak with.  "Ryan," his name was continuously whispered through the crowds, as everyone wanted to speak with him.  A lady caught me in the bathroom and pegged me as his wife.  "He's so smart," she tells me.  A man catches me on the way back from the bathroom to talk about Ryan.  Another catches me before I reach our table to talk with me about Ryan.  This occurs all night long, as Ryan is the most popular attendee at this conference.  Everyone instantly knows who I am, because they all know who he is.  And I feel iconic as well, and also because my pregnant belly brings me lots of attention.  I am luxuriating in being the adored pregnant wife to the brilliant Ryan.  Later, Ryan tells me that the franchise owner who is the top dog of all the owners came over to shake Ryan's hand and congratulate him on his smarts and success, and Ryan says how proud that made him feel.  I am beaming for him.  He deserves that.

We are tucked in bed.  A good, satisfying day for each of us.  We have read our scriptures, said our prayers, relaxed, and dozed off into sleep.  Then Ryan's sister calls - it's 1 am.  The hotel staff did not follow Ryan's instructions from the prior day to use his card on file to pay for the hotel rooms of all his sales staff that were flying in late this evening.  They are all at the front desk.  Ryan speaks with the hotel staff, wondering why his card on file cannot just be charged, why must he be present.  But he gets up out of bed, lifting his body from a deep sleep, and gets dressed with no mark of impatience.  I say softly that I'm sorry he has to go deal with this now.  He says it's no problem and he's cool as a cucumber.  He takes care of the situation with no frustration or anything.  Just takes it as it comes and never lets it bother him.  I really love that about him.

We dance together in the light of the club with all our friends.  I love being so close with him, moving to the music with him.  He twirls me and we laugh.  We are always holding hands and staying close no matter where we go.  Our energy together is so fluid and effortless.

Ryan takes all his employees and wives out to a nice restaurant after classes end.  The food impresses everyone, and everyone laughs over moments during the week.  Afterwards, our whole group walks to Dave and Buster's and enjoys an evening of arcade games, pooling all of our tickets to buy some desserts, which we eat back in the lobby of the hotel and laugh late into the night.  Ryan and I are attached at the hip the whole night.  Ryan is so easygoing, and I enjoy being around him so much.

We walk to a local bowling alley.  It's so hot and humid outside.  My pregnant body heats up more and more, and my pace slows down from the rest of the group.  Ryan stays by my side, keeping hold of my hand and holding up my hair off my neck.  We sit close together in the bowling alley.  Ryan insists that I take a comfortable chair and makes sure I get some cold water immediately.  He takes good care of me.  The other guys on his sales team take turns holding their babies so their wives can bowl.  I can't wait to see Ryan hold our baby.  I cannot imagine a more handsome and loving father. 

We go for a helicopter ride together.  Something neither of us have ever done.  The helicopter takes off, and it's so exhilarating and stimulating!  I immediately reach back and squeeze Ryan's calf.   I hold on tight as the helicopter takes sharp turns and swoops.  Ryan puts both of his hands on my shoulders, because he knows I'm a little nervous.  We are connected as we ride over the city of Orlando, seeing the whales at sea world, the roller coasters.  When we land, we are both giddy with excitement over such a thrilling experience.  We squeeze hands so tightly as we walk back to the hotel, sharing in the newness of that event together.  I feel so bonded and close with him.

How is Ryan so unlike anyone I've known.  His specific qualities - sharp intelligence, calm demeanor, gentle and loyal love - are so developed and strong.  When other people only have a mild reach in one of these qualities, but he is so extensive in all of them.  He's incredible.  I love him.  I am more blessed to be with him than I ever understood the day I married him. 

Upward and onward,

We arrive at the Orlando airport.

An interesting image in one of the restaurants.... Haha!

Dancing after dinner!
 Helicopter ride! 
 Walking home from the helicopter ride, stopping to take a snapshot of an interesting building.
Ryan and his team.


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The Ultimate Respector

02 August 2016

Last night we had some friends over for a little BBQ.  At one point, someone brought up a man that most of us know.  Our guest wasn't super fond of this person and shared some reasons why.  I just passively listened, but Ryan took no shyness or hesitation in stepping up to the plate for the man.  And he did it in such a gentle and kind way, but he was bold.

I remember when Ryan and I first started dating, and one of our mutual friends came up to me and unsolicitedly told me about this quality in Ryan.  This friend said that Ryan always stood up for people whenever anyone's name came up adversely, no matter how intimate his acquaintance with that person.  Ryan just naturally sees the best in all people.  I've never known him to speak ill of anyone.

So on this night, watching Ryan sit on our couch and comfortably speak to a room full of people inside this absent man's corner was so humbling and touching to me.  I nearly cried. 

I LOVE this quality in Ryan.  Respect is huge to me.  Huge, huge, huge.  I really really dislike feeling disrespected or seeing people disrespect others.  And Ryan is such a respector of all persons.  There are so many reasons that I adore him and admire him so much, but this one gets me to the bone.  I truly believe that Ryan is one of the most high-quality and best people I've ever known, and this is a true mark as to why.  His character is rock solid.  Every friend of his should feel insanely lucky to have such a loyal companion like him.  His employees, his family, myself.  We are all so lucky to have a man who will actively respect us no matter where or how our name comes up.

Upward and onward,


After I gave Ryan a fresh hair cut.  I swoon over him every. single. time. we trim his hair.  I think he is soooo handsome.

Ryan took me and some friends boating last week.  He is so good at wake surfing!  I love watching him.

One Year of Marriage with Ryan

01 August 2016

The month of August.

One year ago, in this month, I made a decision from my firmest hold on love and faith.  A very thought-through and deliberate choice.  An overwhelming trust in the momentum I'd found with another, relishing in our magic.

I did not understood then to what measure of magic that decision would yield as I now can after a year's worth of hindsight.  I now have a sharpness, a clarity, a proud rest to the incredible fit and expansive happiness I have because of marrying Ryan.

I still cannot believe what a huge amount of joy and companionship has filled my life by being with him.  My fingers still slowly wrapping around this life of mine, trying to fully grasp this reality.  A reality that still feels too dreamy.  I am only marinating into this marriage on a slow simmer, because it's too grand to soak in all at once.

I am with this man. And, forever?

I still think of Ryan as I'm driving around town, and my eyes water up because I just can't believe it.  Ryan is so much better than I knew when I married him.  He is a more solid fit for me than I knew when I married him.   He has shown me a friendship and loyalty and love far greater than I've ever known.  We have grown so much, as companions and individuals.  Learning from each other.  Overcoming personal weaknesses.  I can't believe the emotions that are evoked from such a strong unity with another.  The vulnerability I see in him as he trusts me to be his sole confidant and support.  The space we offer to safely mess up and grow inside a true unconditional love.  The ways we match and synchronize, like a seamless puzzle.  Bursts of knowledge saying, this is so right, this is sooooo right. 

This experience of being with Ryan this last year has been so beautiful to me.  And the daydreams I have of our future, as I feel our first child swirl around in my belly, make me so overcome with happiness.  I am so small when surrounded by such grand goodness and that makes me so so so grateful.

Love is so real.

This month, I dedicate a lot of time towards writing about Ryan and the joy we find in one another. 

Upward and onward,

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