Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thank You, President Monson

Dear President Monson,
You may have seen your Presidency from your own eyes, your colleagues' eyes, the church's eyes and for all I know even the Lord's eyes.  But, I want to let you see it from my eyes.  Sure, in comparison to those you rub shoulders with I am nothing more than a young girl, but I am a young girl whose life has changed drastically over the course of your time as Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
I know you have been an Apostle for over fifty years, but to me, you came into play one day in Middle School when I was in Yearbook Class and a girl received a text that you were to be the new President of the church.  I had no idea just how big of a part you would play in my life.  I learned from you and your example taught me many things about the Gospel.  Even as a fourteen year-old girl, I sustained you from the very beginning.
Fast forward almost five years, just two weeks after my nineteenth birthday. It was October of 2012.  I was feeling a little lost.  No matter what I did, I had this unshakable feeling that I was supposed to be doing something else. On the morning of the sixth, I got up to go for a run. I had to work that day, so I had decided to record General Conference to watch it that night.  However, just a few miles into my run, I heard a voice telling me to turn around.  I ignored it.  I had been sick for months and I finally felt good, there was no way I was turning back then! The voice returned a second time, and finally a third.  That last time, the voice was so clear and firm that I thought my life was in danger.  I turned around and sprinted back to my house.  I wish I had been wearing a watch that day because I am almost certain I set a new record.
Exhausted, I stomped into my apartment, headphones still in, and got a drink.  My friend was watching conference and I noticed that you were speaking.  That same sharp voice returned and told me to take my headphones out because the Prophet of God was about to talk to me.  Completely oblivious to the fact that a historical announcement allowing young men to serve missions at the age of eighteen had just been made, I pulled my headphones out just in time to hear you say:

"As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service....."

President Monson, as crazy as it may sound, I felt time stop at that very moment.  It's not that I guessed that you would say nineteen, it's that something eternal clicked inside of me and I remembered that you were going to say nineteen and I remembered that I had told my Heavenly Father that I would serve.
And my life was forever changed...

The Spirit had to tell me three times to turn around so I would hear the announcement, but I was not going to make it do the same thing for going on a mission.  That second of eternity was enough, and the prayers I said along the path left me with no room to doubt.  I wasted no time. On October 24th, 2012, just two and a half weeks after the change was announced, I opened my call to the Peru Lima North mission.  It was sheer missionary joy.

But President, a new bombshell was thrown at me during your Presidency.  Fifty-eight new missions were opened, several of them in Peru. On my first day in Peru, I found out that I would not be serving in the Peru Lima North Mission, I would be serving in the new Iquitos Mission in the Amazon Jungle.
Words can never describe how I felt or how amazing my mission was. But, I can try to sum it up in pictures:

My life changed. My world changed. I changed.
Then, it was time to return home.  But, it felt more like I was leaving home.
I struggled a lot, but eventually I got comfortable with my new life as a returned missionary.  The April 2015 General Conference rolled around and for the first time, I watched it in the conference center.  That's the first and only time that I've seen you in person.  The Spirit was strong as you spoke.  Even though your health was already effecting you and you were not able to speak as much as normal, your words, through the Spirit, changed my life once more.  That day, sitting next to my boyfriend, my heart was touched and I knew that I was to marry him.
So, when the October conference rolled around, I watched it in my apartment, cuddled up to my new husband, with my missionary nametag hanging on the wall next to me.
Basically, a map of the last three years of my life can be created using the events of co

That, dear Prophet, is your Presidency in my eyes.  It's the mission that changed my life and the man that will be mine for all eternity.  
So, as I watched you speak and watched your health start to fail you, I began to imagine that I could feel your exhaustion after so many years.  My love grew for you even more than before. 

Thank you, Dear Prophet.  

With all my heart and all my love, I thank you.

What Football Taught Me About Being a Good Wife

I had Fall Break a couple of weeks ago and I was super excited because it meant no work and no class.  Unfortunately, Tyler's school doesn't have Fall Break, so I was going to have a few days to myself.  Although I would rather have spent all my time with him, I was excited to do things around the house.  From Thursday to the following Monday, I was free.  I kept telling myself that not having thirteen-hour days would give me time to be a full-time wife.  
To me, taking time to be a wife meant doing the domestic things that I love.  Finally, I was going to unpack and wash all of our wedding gifts.  I was also going to hem Ty's pants, make freezer meals, deep clean the apartment, do the laundry, put cute little love notes in Ty's perfect, made-from-scratch lunches, etc.
Thursday morning was great.  Tyler's classes were a little bit later that day, so we slept in and then I made us a big breakfast.  Later that day, I did the laundry and made homemade french bread along with homemade butter.  I just kept thinking how nice it felt to finally have time to be a wife.
When Tyler got home later that afternoon, he reminded me that there was a football game the next day and I had excitedly agreed to camp out in line with him and his friends that night.  It's not a necessary thing to get into the game because we all have season tickets, but it's a bit of a tradition and it's the only way to get good seats.  Then, he asked if, since I was the only one on fall break (all of his friends also go to the other university in town), I could stay there the following day while they were all in classes.  Basically, I would be there for over twenty-four straight hours.  
I would do anything for my sweet husband, so of course I agreed.  But, I was sad that I was missing out on a day and half of being the wife I always want to be.
So, at six o'clock on Thursday night of my fall break, we headed to the football stadium where I would stay until late Friday night.  I tried to have a good attitude, but it was difficult.  I just wanted to be at home being a "good wife."
We set up our sleeping bags and talked with everyone.  Even in front of all of his single friends, Tyler kept cuddling with me, kissing me, and thanking me for being there. I started to have a better attitude. Later that night, I thought about how happy Tyler I had made Tyler.  Then, it hit me.
Being a good wife goes far beyond housekeeping. 
Of course, I already knew that.  But it never really hit home until that moment.  My motivation for being a good wife was to make Tyler happy.  Sure, he would have appreciated all of the things I wanted to do at home, but what he really wanted that night was a best friend.

Sometimes, the house doesn't look perfect.  The food is not homemade.  Heck, there might not even be food.  But, being a good wife means being with the man you love, supporting him, and having fun with him.  Sometimes, that's all he really needs.

Valentine's Day BROquet

Sometimes, I really like to think about God's sense of humor.  Think about this, women like doing cutesy stuff, but men don't care too much about receiving it.  Men don't like cutesy stuff, but women like receiving cutesy stuff.  I'm so lucky to have Tyler who appreciates when I put effort into something and also does cutesy things for me.  Yeah, I've got it good.  Nonetheless, I like to give the cutesy things I do for him a bit of a manly twist, hence this broquet.
The big "roses" in the middle are ties that I bought on Amazon, everything else came from the Dollar Tree.
You Will Need:
Two ties
Styrofoam ball/ Disk
Crazy Straws
Any other decorations
Glue Gun
Bobby Pin/ Safety Pin


Glue straws to the back of treats.

Wrap ties around crazy straws to look like roses.  Secure with pin.

Place styrofoam ball or disk inside of the flower pot. 

Poke straws through styrofoam to arrange as desired.

If the styrofoam is showing through too much, you can cover it with ribbons, tinsel, etc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Prequel (Our Engagement Pictures)

I was SO excited to take our engagement pictures! We decided to do a fancier outfit and a casual outfit.  Although navy and peach (or salmon or coral or whatever it is) were not our wedding colors, I really wanted that dress and Ty really wanted that shirt, so we decided to have "engagement" colors...why not?
Wanting to do something different, we decided to do our pictures at Sand Hollow Reservoir in Southern Utah so we could get red rock as well as some water shots.  I love this part of the world!  Our photographer, Nicole, from NSW Photography has been one of my good friends since elementary school.  She takes AWESOME photos--she did all of our wedding pictures as well!

 First pose.
 I LOVE candid photos.  But, don't be fooled,
we aren't being as cute as we look in that moment.
I distinctly remember him making a women's
sports joke and I was telling him he sucked...
we're just sarcastic like that.

Forehead of my favorite things ever.

I love the desert!

Being the awkward person that I am, I was 
laughing throughout the whole shoot.

That sweet, pre-kiss moment.

 I loved this little spot that we found. I used to cliff jump
close by.
 Red Rock+Water=Bliss

 Red Rock+Water+This Man=Bliss Beyond Words

Add dancing into the equation and I might 
just die of happiness.

In fact, add dancing AND kissing 
into the equation and it's amazing
that I didn't just die of happiness
right then and there!

Nicole killed it with the lighting here! So perfect.

My husband in a V-neck...still gives me butterflies!

We were SO nervous about the ring on the
moving dock!

Ring Shot.

Off the it!

It took us WAY too long to find matching shoes...

He kept threatening to throw me in...
I wouldn't have complained! I LOVE the lake.

At least we got our feet in.


This is how we drive/sit/pray, I love holding 
his arm and laying my head on his shoulder.

And the dip..


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Beautiful Details (AKA More Wedding Photos)

When we were planning our wedding and I would tell people that our colors were purple and teal, the most common reaction was:

"Oh! You mean like a peacock? Because his last name is Peacock?"

Well, maybe that was not why, and maybe it was an unintended coordination between color and animal/surname, but our wedding was absolutely beautiful.  We had SO many amazing friends and family members who dedicated so much time and talent to making things perfect while Tyler and I got by without hardly lifting a finger.  THEIR talent, not ours, really needs to be shared.

So, here are a few of the beautiful details that made everything perfect:

The rings

The bouquet

The shipiva bowtie and pocket square
(Shipiva is special embroidery pattern done by natives in the Amazon Basin)

The Luncheon Setting

The Inca Kola

Name Cards By Table
(There was a fart machine hidden under the cloth on one table. True Story.)
The doughnut cake.
Ya, we did.
The cake table

The mantle

Front View

Full View

The Line Backdrop

The Popcorn Bar

Close Up

Popcorn Toppings
(And Peruvian Candies)

Popcorn Bags

M&M's with our faces on them

We spray painted a vintage suitcase to hold our cards

The sentimental centerpiece.
The blue orchids

The Lemonade Bar

Polaroid Photo Booth

Guest Book

Did you notice the Peruvian flare we added to our wedding?
Tyler and I actually met while living in the Amazon Jungle of Peru.
True Story.
What on earth were we doing there, you ask?
Find out here.