And now is where we let strangers live with us

31 December 2015

Our basement rental is finally ready to go!

I have been scouring KSL for necessary items in every waking hour, so this feels like quite the feat to have done.  Ryan's focus was finishing up the remodel in our laundry room, and my focus was to furnish and clean the basement for renters.  We've been working eight hour days, and then working another five hours in the evenings on our house.  For dayssss. 

We make an extremely good team, because I love to clean, furnish, and decorate, and Ryan loves to repair, fix, and build.  And we are learning just how top-quality we both like to be in our work, and we respect that in each other.

Here's to subsidizing our mortgage until we have enough babies to fill our space.

Year-End Meeting

A New Years Eve meeting at Ryan's work.

I love having business meetings with Ryan.  I never focus well because he walks around the room with a dry erase marker in hand and speaks so articulately.  I can only stare at him and think about how smart and attractive he is.
"What do you think CFO?" As he raises one eyebrow at me.  Oh he is so handsome!!

"Wait, um, what?"  I say.

7 pm, and this meeting is over.  Now off for our Happy New Years quiet evening.

Upward and onward,

Drifting off to sleep on high thoughts

30 December 2015

I loved falling asleep to the sound of Ryan drilling and hammering in our laundry room. I would have stayed up to watch him, but I was so tired.  Just earlier, I was standing in there with him reading the scriptures aloud.  I'm in the latter part of 3 Nephi, and I believe this is the crux of the whole book.  It's sooooo alive.

As he worked on a slight remodel project and I would read, we'd point out the parts we thought were interesting and talk about them. Like Christ purposefully leaving holes in the Gospel that He wants our faith to fill.  Or how genuinely seeking understanding opens us to huge chambers of wisdom. Or how all the actions we do are like signing Christs name right beneath them as His own work.  That really magnified to me as I thought about it falling asleep.  Because the last several months, I have submitted so many tax returns under Jon's name, and he has trusted that my work is accurate.  That shows such a high level of trust that one's caliber is at the height of the other.  Do my actions reach a level that Christ would have done Himself if in my situation?  mmmm, maybe not always.  I'll keep this in mind to do better.

I love the Spirit. I love Ryan.  This is the only time in my life I have kept my bedroom door open so I can fall asleep to the sound of a drill.  Never has something sounded so soothing as hard-working-and-protective-husband noises.

Upward and onward,

Best Reads in 2015

This has been my best year yet for best reads!  I discovered several new great novelists and some new wise mentors!  As such, I have to give out a couple awards in each category!  And then, of course, I selected an author whose writing is just so keenly on point! 

Best Discovered Novelist:  Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty

Best New Mentor:  Carol Tuttle,  Louise Hay,  and M. Catherine Thomas

Best Writing:  Elizabeth Gilbert

Below is my bookshelf of best reads in 2015:

(See 2014 Best Reads Here)

Upward and onward,


28 December 2015

When you fail [or when life fails you], you don't need more discipline to get yourself going again.  You need self-forgiveness [and self-love].

Listening to Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown in a podcast together.  These womens' minds are so beautiful; I almost want to cry that they are merging their thoughts into one discussion!  Today, I loved how Brene talked about ONLY sharing your personal self when all the healing and reconciliation is done.  Then, in the time when you do decide to share, others opinions mean nothing.  You don't need them for your healing.  Yours is always yours to keep holding.

So sacred.  So much power in holding yourself tight in compassion and care.  I know this to be one of the truest truths.

Self, I love you.  You have endured a lot.  And you are safe to keep releasing it in the space and time that you need.  You are so abundant.

Upward and onward,

image source

Building a home and beautiful love

27 December 2015

We drove out of North Ogden canyon right at the peak of the day, heading home from a Christmas vacation in Eden.  The sun was bright and the snow on all the pine trees was breathtaking.

We stopped at a couple places on the drive home to pick up items for our house. Of which, one stop was to get a washer and dryer. 

We arrive home and warm ourselves up to a steamy plate of chunky veggie spaghetti, both dancing around the kitchen as we do our part in preparing the meal.  We clean up for awhile, continuing to find new places for thing, and then we endeavor to unload the washer and dryer from the bed of Ryans truck. After heaving and hauling and pushing and pulling, hoisting and holding, Ryan says, "let's never do that again." We agree that we'll call someone next time. But Ryan and I do make a good team. My patience was so strong today, and I have felt completely relaxed at every inconvenience and strain. Ryan is that way always. 

Then we sit side-by-side on our couch, and while he finishes up some work, I read next to him with my arm around him and lots of kisses on the cheek. 

It is an amazing feeling to build a home with someone. How we are away from the world, in this huge house, just the two of us. Really, just the two of us. No family near. The city a ways away.  And our neighborhood feeling so quiet and distant from us. So we sit all alone in a huge room in the dim mass of night, snuggling on the couch. I thought of how much Ryan trusts me, mainly emotionally.  How I hold so much stewardship over his well-being.  How a spouse really believes in the commitment and devotion of the other.  That thought was so powerful to me!  So I turned to him and told him these thoughts and that I want to be the best companion for him that he can imagine.

I want to bottle this feeling of being so united and intimate and in love with the one you're with. All day, as we gather and build our home and lives together, I am so grateful to be with Ryan. He is a man I truly respect and admire.

And right now, he is building a mouse trap to catch the little rodent I saw scurry across the kitchen. He's so industrious and brilliant.

And I love him.

Upward and onward,

White Christmas in the mountains

25 December 2015


Ryan and I are on a nice Christmas vacation with Ryan's family, tucked into the mountain town of Eden, with heavy snow falling all around and loving people and food everywhere.  There is a lot of good food, good company, and an ongoing ping-pong tournament.  Everyone is eager for all the snow activities like sledding, snowboarding, and their annual Nazarene dinner on Christmas Eve.  I have a high amount of fatigue from rapid packing, cleaning, moving, and unpacking and more cleaning recently.  As Ryan and I snuggle into bed on our first night of this get-a-way, I confess my exhaustion to him.  He is so sweet to me all the time.  He wraps me up and forms a plan for me the following day that I can have some quiet time and reassures me that he'll take care of me.  I really appreciate his patience and support.

I definitely enjoyed a good long run in the mountain briskness.

Upward and onward,

image source
image source

Getting settled. In both home and heart.

23 December 2015

Well, Ryan and I have moved into our home.  What a whirlwind.

In the month between going under contract and closing on the home, I daydreamed endlessly about the life that would be lived within those walls.  It was the most beautiful and peaceful haven in my mind.  The sun shines through the windows every morning.  I cook and bottle healthy and satisfying meals.  I begin an herb collection.  We start a garden and finish the kitchenette in the basement to nourish our budding plants and wash our green thumbs in the sink after working in the yard all day.  The other white corner nook in the basement becomes a creative learning and artistic space for our children.  And the main studio would be used for being physically active and learning from books and each other.  And of course, children would come to us quickly and healthily and fill the home with their personalities.  None of my demons existed in this home.  It was without stress, worry, and pain.  It was full of love, and knowledge, and activity, and spirit.  It was a sanctuary in every way.

And then the home closed, and I was grossly sick to my stomach for a couple days.  I pressed on with packing, cleaning, and moving, but it was just motions of necessity.  My sleep was rocky, and my work was sacrificed heavily.   

We have moved in now, and the home itself is slowly becoming less frightening to me.  It is not yet comforting or cozy.  But I am working very diligently to make it so.  Ryan always calls me a work horse because I have been continuously pouring myself into this home.   I have been scrubbing and deep cleaning every last nook, and I have been gently greeting it, letting myself become known to it and it to me.  I assure the home that we will treat it well.  It helps both of us that we are coming to know each other, and I can feel it's grateful energy from my keen attention to it.

I have also been listening to Big Magic while I clean.  It is an astounding book and certainly one of my favorites now.  I listened to it three times as I deep cleaned every crack of this home.

Ryan and I are so thrilled to build this home into the sanctuary we envision.  And of course that will come more from my own mind versus the house itself, but I do believe that we will find ourselves very fulfilled here.  I give myself that time.  Time to get settled; time to tackle some low-hanging fix-up projects; and time to settle myself from all the uproar of new ownership.

Unseen blessings that have already come from this home:

-Having Russell and his wife so close (Ryan's best friend).  I can't wait to go to dinner with them.  They are such real, grounded people.

-Having Brittany so close (one of my best friend's from college).  She has already come by to visit several times, and I am beyond grateful to have such a dear friend so close.

-Our ward.  This is by far the most welcoming ward Ryan and I have ever encountered.  EVERYONE greeted us on Sunday, and they were stoked out of their minds to have new members. 

-My friend Emily happens to be in this ward, and she and her husband were so generous and helpful during the move, providing meals and assistance.

-We live in the city of Herriman, but on the property of Riverton.  Because this is one of the oldest neighborhoods in this town, so it was still inclded in Riverton when it was built, while the city of Herriman later grew around it.  And this is SO fanstastic because we pay Riverton taxes, which are much lower, given the box stores in Riverton that subsidize with sales tax and also the conservative mayor with spending is low.  Whereas Herriman generates no sales tax and is all about spending and building, so their property taxes are twice as much!  So we get incredible amenities from the town, but we don't have to pay for them.  Also, Riverton's water source is from irrigation water, so that helps too.

-The entrance to our neighborhood is completely open to the vast mountain range of the Salt Lake Valley.  Driving anywhere, the mountains are so stark and pristine.  It's open and beautiful!

I accept all energy so I can keep building this home.
I give myself patience to let everything come together in time.
I give myself a lot of love and security for the journey of buying this home.
I give myself permission to open up and receive the safety and kindness that exists in the world.
I am honored to have the life I do - the home above me, the husband by me, and the job that fulfills my mind.
I am continually brave and strong.

Upward and onward,

Image source

Eccentric somebody's

14 December 2015

Today is so cozy.  Sitting in my office listening to Christmas music and the snow plow outside.  Thinking of Ryan, always, and also my dear friend Katie who came over on Saturday to make homemade tomato soup with us.  It was exactly what I needed.  The connection and the warm food.

I have taken a tiny break from working on the financials of one of my clients because these words jolted me. It is a simple repost from Meg Fee's blog.

"What I am in the eyes of most people--a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person--somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest o f the low. All right, then--even if that were absolutely true, then I should like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart." 

Vincent Van Gogh (in a letter to his brother in 1882. Van Gogh's work when almost totally unrecognized during his lifetime).

I give myself permission to show my eccentric authenticity, because I believe it is valuable.

Upward and onward,

Our New Home

I love thinking about our life in the house we're moving into.  It has been so nice to continually enlarge this warm, bright daydream during this chilly, dark winter time. 

Like the huge garden we plan to build.  The chickens we will raise.  The food canning we plan to do.  The recipes I want to test and perfect.  The healthy and self-sustained lives we will lead.  The hard-working and satisfied bodies we will have.

I think about our basement with the yoga studio facing the sunrise.  With all the children's bedrooms.  I want it to be a technology free, open space.  A space of curiosity and discovery.  I picture the large basement room a mirror on the back wall.  We can all dance, work-out, meditate and observe ourselves.  We can use the wall as a teaching tool, writing new vocabulary words we are learning on the mirror.  I imagine a reading space in the sunny corner with a globe and drawing paper.  In the other corner, Ryan will install a mud sink and we'll tend our plants before we take them outside to the garden.

We will finally be permanently located.  A solid family in the ward, sharing our beliefs about Zion communities and living those beliefs with our neighborhood.  Meeting our neighbors and baking for them.  Going for runs into the mountains.  Finding the local stores and restaurants to help support.  Make friends and build a network.

I imagine Ryan and myself.  We are already better people than we were when we first got married.  And I see us as our best selves in this home.  Happy, hard-working, always learning, always teaching.  This home feels so warm and protected already, safe from evil influence, clear of draining and wasteful thoughts.  Insulated with positive and loving energy.  Ryan is so excited for the handyman work and yard care.  I am so excited for all the cleaning and decorating that awaits me.

I believe we are beginning a very happy era.

Upward and onward,

image source

Lucky to be with Ryan

13 December 2015

I am so lucky to be married to Ryan.  I am lucky to be married, period.  I hope to never forsake what a blessing it is to be inside this covenant.  I paid my dues in the world of dating and heart ache and abandonment and divorce and grief, and I am SO lucky to have been given the opportunity to find someone so synchronous with myself and settle in permanently and safely.  Someone who is so true and dedicated to this huge commitment.  In sickness and in health; in poverty and wealth; in stressful times and times of still flow.  I love the security with Ryan.  Love the stability.  I love the way that this marriage has opened life's doors of progression in an exciting way.

And I'm lucky that I am bound with Ryan.  He and I truly balance each other in the most personally crucial ways.  My greatest flaws tango well with his greatest strengths, and vice versa.  We teach each other, we support each other, we so deeply admire the other person.  Just this morning, as Ryan was holding me on the couch because I felt bogged down with fertility and homebuying and lease-selling, and he held me and said, "we like to support each other.  That is why we got married in the first place isn't it?  You love supporting me, and I love supporting you.  And that's all we need to do right now."

He is so patient and loving.  Always.  This man never has a sour mood.  He's so laidback and chill.  It makes life so easy to operate. He also encourages me so much. 

And also, I love that he loves to sleep in so late.  Because I LOVE early, early mornings on the weekend and being in the stillness of free, unencumbered, and completely alone quiet time.  As I am now, just thinking about him.

Upward and onward,

Primary Pianist

I would like to take up piano again.  I used to be fairly good as a child.  My favorite song was Fur Elise.

I will miss my calling in this ward - the short time I've had it  -

Primary Pianist. 

A Sunday never went by where I messed up playing a song because I was laughing so hard at the children's singing.  Particularly the junior primary.  I mean really, could that little boy in the front row scream the words any louder?  And then the children around him shrieking louder so they can hear their own voices.  It just sounds so much like a circus out there over my piano piano that I start laughing, and I laugh harder and harder until I'm playing all the notes wrong. 

And I love the chorister, who is also my visiting teachee.  Because she's like Mrs. Frizzle, sewing her own clothes and wearing outfits each week that match her theme.  Turkeys on thanksgiving, Santa Claus around Christmas.  That's exactly how the primary chorister should be in every ward.  She's so relaxed and chill.  And also, sidenote, the landscape plantar boxes that neighborhoods have down the middle of the roads - for trees and shrubs and such.  She uses them for her garden.  Which I asked her about when I noticed pumpkins growing in the street by her house.  "Oh those are mine.  No one has said anything so I figure why not?" Ha!

Also, since singing time is really only 20 minutes for the two primary blocks, I will miss my self-taught lessons in the back of the room.  Generally only during senior primary because during junior primary, I'm too busy laughing at all the jambling children.  Like the boy who was wiggling around in his chair so much that it slipped right out from under him and he landed on his butt.  Haha!

But the chorister and I sit side-by-side, and she knits, while I read and write.  I love how we turn to our natural hobbies, as if we're sitting in our own houses.  I always read Daughters In My Kingdom.  I LOVE that book.  Eliza R. Snow sounds like the most confident and efficient woman in the world.

So to bid adieu to this calling, I leave you with some highlights I scribed in my notebook during my time in this primary:

-the little girl bearing who testimony.  (and you must know her personality - wears pink every week and has the demeanor of a 16 year old):  "I know my mom and dad love me.  And I know that when I go to fun places, everyone there will love me too."

-the little girl, who's hair is always in her face, slowly rising behind the primary pulpit, her mouth in a wide-closed- scary grin, staring straight out to the crowd without blinking.  It was freaky.  And then she read a very nice scripture.

-"you can't wrap a gift and give it to Jesus because he's INVISIBLE." - some little boy.

Upward and onward,

Honesty Box: Mortgages

So as it turns out, the most awesome thing about buying a house

is the mortgage....

I remember learning in school - "The mitochondria is the power house of the cell.."  And at 14, I'm like, "Okay, do you have anything more.... useful for me?  Like, how do you pay taxes and buy a house? I wonder about the true security of my future."  And teachers are like, "no this is crucial."  And now, someone hands me a mortgage document and I'm like THE MITOCHONDRIA IS THE POWER HOUSE OF THE CELL.  Oh wait, sorry, that's still irrelevant.   So I just keep reviewing these mortgage papers and signing my name.  I have only been doing this for 4 weeks now.  Only.  I hope that I will still be an American citizen with rights to my car, husband, and ovaries by the time this is through.  But if I get deported naked, then I will know I signed something I shouldn't have. 


Yet again, another useless high school fact that has yet to make itself of service.

Upward and onward,

Happy Moments!

Happy Moments!

Alie's beautiful message to me.  She and I were in the same ward when we were 19, and later, when I was in grad school, her husband and I were in a humanities class together.  We always sat together, basically choking down our shirt collars because it was SOO ridiculous.  I admire her SO much.

Angie's class at school.  So fun to imagine her teaching.  And also hearing about all these children, particularly the one coined, "Demon."

Brennan holding the new family cat!  Love this kid!  I'm sure I'll love the kitty too.


And, turns out, Ryan is my 13th cousin twice removed.  I looked it up after we got married, just to know.  Ha!

Testimony's and Pianos

07 December 2015

Yesterday Ryan suggested we bear our testimonies during fast and testimony meeting, since it was our last Fast Sunday in this ward, and the bishop had wanted us to give talks and suggested this as an alternative.  I really appreciated his suggestion, because we both needed a surge of spiritual connection.  Personally and together.  I went first and I talked about how last year I really studied compassion - vulnerability, empathy.  And this year I really studied acceptance.  Just loving things as they are.  And that led me to a lot of meditation and seeing the light in all things.  Everything points back to Christ.  And we can really elevate ourselves as human beings and feel His light more wholly and perfectly.  Then I bore testimony that I have such a solid testimony of His existence.

Then Ryan stood up and discussed all the pets his family had growing up, talking specifically about fish.  He talked about the difference between fresh water and salt water fish, and that one could not survive in the wrong environment.  And then he brought up the scripture about our states of happiness, and that since we are literal offspring of a Heavenly Father, we belong in fresh water environments and we begin to shrivel in the wrong environments.  It was such a beautiful testimony.

And then I headed off to Primary, as my first, and second to last day as the Primary pianist.  I LOVED it!  I haven't touched a piano in over a decade, but I played so well!  I loved being in there!  Ryan got out early and was standing outside the primary waiting for me.  When I came out, he said, I didn't know you could play that good!

A good day.

Upward and onward,