Being valued

26 February 2015

I was laying on the hotel bed tonight, after a full day at Disneyland with Ryan, both resting our tired legs.  And I was listening to a vox from Becky, while scrolling down my tumblr feed.  In the middle of her message, she said how grateful she was to be able to associate with me, to call me a friend.  Something about her sincerity really touched me.  When people really value me, it hits in a deep spot.

Like the seasons of Earth, I have my own tide that draws in, and then distances from, draws in, and then distances from.  And my tide has to do with feeling unseen, misunderstood, and not really valued.  Last week, this tide drew in far.  I spent a few somber days asking God to help me discover Light to let this tide distance from me again.  To help me draw back in to my deep value.  My Heavenly Father has always been the one to provide that feeling most strongly.  Though feeling that deep value from a good and trusted friend is nearly to that same level.

And after telling Ryan all of this, he pulls my hand off the bed and kisses it.  "I value you," he says.

Upward and onward,

By way of lighter news, the day I post a dance-off video on my Instagram with lyrics about stripping, is the day my bishop decides to follow me.  For the love of all that is timely.  That should be a good interview icebreaker.

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A formal Valentine's date

25 February 2015

 Ryan and I went on a delayed formal Valentine's date.  It was incredible.  

Ryan booked a reservation at The Melting Pot.  I've never been there before.  And Ryan even ordered a white rose to be on the table for me when we got there :)

We sat in an intimate booth in the far corner, and we enjoyed melted cheeses and boiling meat broth and some melted chocolate dessert that should be restricted from entering the human body, because it turns humanity into monsters for more.

And then, because the restaurant was so dimly lit, I followed Ryan into the men's restaurant to get a good picture.  He didn't realize I was on his heels until we were six feet into the room.  Needless to say, he hurriedly snapped a photo with me and ushered me out.

And then to follow our fancy date, we went bowling.  It was splendid.


Upward and onward,

In the end, there was light

All packed up and done with this job.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  

I didn't even try to fake a sad face.


Conciously a better me

22 February 2015

I started a new project this morning.

My girlfriend Allie gave me a beautiful notebook for Christmas.  All fancy notebooks that become mine through various means, I basically put them in a glass shrine until I think of the perfect theme of thoughts to put inside.  So, "projects" is code for MORE THINGS TO WRITE DOWN.  I'm not sure at what point I should go to therapy for my collection of journals. (A project from last year). 

So my new record-keeping idea....... HABITS.

"The will that yields the first time with some reluctance does so the second time with hesitation, and the third with none at all until presently the habit is adopted."


A breakdown of my habits listed so far:

Everday, my habits include intense interval workouts, meditating with my Headspace subscription, and spiritual studies.  I have a 10 minute minimum for each but generally do 30 minutes.

Habits I am working on developing are 

Replacing negative thoughts and self-talk with happy anchors and affirmations.  This is an excellent book that I recently studied for science and methodology behind this positive mental rewiring.  How the pathway to our stress reactor in the brain is a shorter distance than the pathway to feeling secure and in control.  So we need to work on building the neurons to naturally fire to the further route of the brain, where we will feel sturdy and peaceful instead, leaving us more apt at thinking clearly.  We build this neuron pathway by pinpointing specific positive memories and thoughts to latch onto in negative moments, and this reassures our brain that we got this and we're in control. 

Recognizing when I'm in a dim emotional place that feelings are fleeting and small, and this too shall pass.  This is the most recent book I studied about how to investigate our thoughts for flawed thinking and undue feelings.  It taught me how to more effectively let things go, because up until this book, that concept seemed impossible to me without some sort of distraction (TV, running, friends).  The wisdom from this book that I use all the time is whenever I feel adversely, I turn it into a succinct sentence.  "I feel...."  And then I replace the beginning twice.  "I am willing to feel....."  "I look forward to feeling..."  And it helps keep the emotion small and even see benefit from it.

As I apply these positive habits to my life, I make a note of it in my notebook with the little symbol and the situation. And I'll add more habits as time goes on.

And now, I put on a scarf that matches my habit notebook and head off to church.

Glory days!

Upward and onward,

Blended smells of Old Spice and roasted fire

17 February 2015

When I make him laugh, I feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. | Drew Barrymore

He came over after he was done fishing for the day.  We both had the day off work.  I spent the day working out, cooking, and reading.  And after being inside all day, my legs were getting cramped, so I skipped up the street in the direction he'd be coming.  Yep, skipped.

Once I skipped onto the main road, I saw his big truck approaching.  He spotted me and grinned, so I waved back.  He flipped around on the busy road and pulled up to the curb to pick me up.  Fishing pole in the backseat, freshly showered, baseball cap on, he was looking and smelling so good.

We drove back to my house and Ryan suggested we roast brats for dinner in the living room fireplace with Julie and Nate.  Ryan set up the fire with wood from our garage, and before long, we all sat in front of the flame roasting our brats on a stick.  Nate brought a pack of old style bottled rootbeer, and his black lab, Brody, sat beside us, begging for a bite of our relished food.  Kersti joined us to share the latest hilarious stories of her little guy Sequoia.  We laughed and laughed, and then planned some upcoming camping trips.

After awhile, we all disbursed to separate rooms to be alone with our One.  Ryan and I made smoothies and curled up on the couch to finish the evening with our current favorite show, Parenthood.  He'd make jokes in the serious moments, and I'd laugh and laugh.  Then he'd playfully scold me for laughing at the sad parts, and I'd laugh more.

Then he tucked me in bed, and we talked for awhile about too much screen time smothering our brains.  We often feel so fatigued from work, so resting with a device seems like the suitable default.  Rest our bodies and our minds with other people's creativity.  But then we agreed that while TV and phone entertainment is satisfying, it doesn't impact us to the depth that other activities do.  It's only sedating, rather than stimulating.  We discussed our childhoods and how self-stimulating we were.  I was very ingenious, making up worlds and characters and writing stories.  And he was very industrial, creating neighborhood businesses and then using the money to buy materials to make sailboats and hunting bows.  We fed our own creativity.

Being well-fed in so many ways from our evening together, we agreed to live more from our talents and less from our tailbones.

And then I fell happily asleep to his remaining blended smell of Old Spice and roasted fire.

Upward and onward,

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Feeling so right

15 February 2015

Yesterday was the perfect Valentine's Day.  Ryan and I agreed the best we've both ever had.  And it wasn't extravagant.  Actually other than Ryan asking me first thing Saturday morning if I wanted to be his Valentine, we did nothing even representative of the holiday.  No red, no hearts, no giant stuffed animals, not even any bathing in rose pedal ponds.  Earlier in the week, I asked Ryan if instead of adorning each other with gifts, we could just each take a night and plan an activity to do with the other person.

So, it was just a day of us being us on a Saturday.  Simple, carefree, and silly.  And that's why I loved it.  It reiterated that this is just us.  How we always we are, how this relationship always is.  Nothing amped up for a day.  Just another simple day that feels perfectly right together.

So the deets.  In pictures.

Then first thing Saturday morning, we went for an impulsive run.  I mentioned to Ryan that I was headed out really fast, and he offered to join me for a sunny little jog around town.  Our first time running together AND the first run of the year in shorts!  My favorite!  Ryan is a good running buddy, and I liked sneaking glances at him.  And giving him a "good game" slap on the butt.

My brother Trevor was in town, so he hung out on Ryan's couch while we went for a run.  Then when we came home, Ryan made us all breakfast.  Our favorite vegetable bacon egg scramble.  We make it every Saturday.  Except this time, Ryan used elk sausages from the elk he shot several months ago.  Love the hunter man bringing home food! 
While we ate breakfast, we played with the mini bag toss game we won at the arcade the night before.  Because we also love going to the arcade and winning aaaaaaaall the tickets, and then bringing home silly games to play. 
Then we spent an undisclosed number of hours on the couch.  Ryan played Super Mario, while I watched Parenthood. We love to do our own activities, but sitting really close together.  Ha!
 We took a small break from our cozy positions to make banana yogurt!
 I cut up some strawberries and mangoes for topping.  Oh dang, it was SO good!
 And we nestled back into the couch for more Super Mario and Parenthood.
Then we went to a high school in Orem to play some aggressive rounds of tennis.  And when I say aggressive, I mean.... super soft.  We basically just lobbed the ball back and forth, counting loudly each time we took a hit to see how high we could get our rally.  42!!!!  But that was an outlier.... Ha.  I'm not going to say our average.
Our game faces!
 Our court rendered a PERFECT view of the mountains.  PERFECTLY glazed in sun.  I'm so so so obsessed with this man and these mountains. 
 Ryan and I played well into the sunset.  I wanted a picture of that gorgeous sky, so I told Ryan to pose.  He kindly did... HAHA!
Finally after dark came, and the park lights came on, Ryan and I played one final rally, and it was SOOO awesome!  All the hits were super crazy, and we were running back and forth, laughing so hard.  We made it to 11 hits, still laughing so hard.  And then called it good - our energy was clearly shot.  Time for dinner.

I chose The Pizza Factory for dinner.  Another one of our favorites because they have a large plate salad bar for $6.00.  And Ryan and I know how to make salad mountains on limited size plates.  It's SO good.  We reminisced on all the great conversations we've had there and ate ourselves happy.

Then we went back to Ryan's apartment and snuggled up on the couch, finishing the night with more Parenthood.  Everything was so so so right in the world.  As I texted Joelle this morning, "Everything with him always feels so right and secure.  We just sync really really well, oh man, it's good."  And that perfect feeling is still holding.  I really really love this guy. 

Here's to Round 2 of Valentine's Day tomorrow - Ryan's planning this time :)

Upward and onward,

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St. George | Up to the highest height

Last weekend, Ryan and I went to St. George with a group of friends.

It began classic Julie-Chantel style: one single text from one of us with an adventurous idea.  "Weekend getaway + hiking?"  "Yep!!  Totally in!" And luckily Ryan is just the same. I can come to his office with a bag of Chinese take-out and while he's still in the boardroom with an employee, trying to finish up the work day, I can barge in to announce the plans and he's totally in!

So a group of us drove down after work on Friday night, playing hours of "Would You Rather?" Which provoked a lot of hilarious stories, among other funny things that one probably wouldn't share outside a night roadtrip.  We arrived in St. George at our rented condo.  A nice little place that belongs to somebody's grandparents who have a classic old person smell.  This condo place had 3 pools, a hot tub, a basketball court, a tennis court, a racquetball court, pool tables, game rooms, DVDs and books for take-out, and YOU NAME IT -- everything that old people need to retire in a nice warm place!  Except parrots.  Because I've always thought that training those things to help old people when they've lost their minds would be a good idea. 

The next morning, Ryan got us going with his veggie & bacon egg scramble for breakfast (MY FAVORITE!).  Then we drove to Zion's National Park, all six of us packed in our buddy's truck.  Once at Zion's, we drove up the mountains to a tunnel at the top.  It is probably the longest tunnel in the world, and we had a signature Percs of Being a Wallflower moment (a must read), by rolling down the windows, blasting Beyonce, and driving through as fast as we can to feel like time has stopped.  At the end of the tunnel, once we were all light-headed from trying to hold our breaths, we stopped and watched some mountain goats, wondering how their bodies can possibly be built for such quick mountain scurrying.

We drove back to the base of the mountain for our hike, first loading ourselves with sandwiches and fruit snacks.  I was told this hike involved holding onto a chain.  I did not realize that meant bouldering up and down a skinny little rock trail with cliffs on both sides with said chain to grip onto for OVER A MILE.  It was the most incredible hike, and I LOVED it!

On the hike down, Ryan and I tightly held hands the whole way and discussed the growth of our relationship and the connection we feel through conversations.  It was so perfect, and I am just so grateful to be with him.

Then we all went out for dinner and then back to the condo to relax. Ryan and I went hot tubbing and tried to eavesdrop on the conversation of all these college girls in the hot tub with us ("and then she said----." "I can't believe she said that!!").  I asked Ryan later if he heard what "she" said, because I missed it.  He didn't hear either and was also disappointed he couldn't follow the drama of the conversation.  We all fell asleep that night watching a super old Robin Hood movie where we were extremely happy that Kevin Costner has since learned how to act.

The next day we went to a local church and listened to every ward member share their feelings about the Young Women's program.  We were so immensely into it that we left early to eat more of Ryan's incredible breakfast.  Then we packed up and drove to Snow Canyon.  After scurrying through all the caves we could find, we snacked up at a gas station and headed on home.

A most splendid weekend getaway!


Here's to being autonomous, adventurous adults!  And to the man who makes my life all the more fantastic :))

Upward and onward,

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