January 2013

January 2013
Our Little Family of Three

Monday, December 29, 2008

A bone to pick

I have to get this off my chest.

It's not my style to swear. I think it's ugly and it sounds very uneducated. The comment, "...tell that bastard to get a job" was recently made. I didn't say those words. Someone else did. And my thoughts are over flowing. Without sounding too irritated I am going to share some of my MANY thoughts on comments like this.

Travis and I believe we are capable of whatever we set our minds to. The world is at our finger tips. We acknowledge and are extremely grateful for this. Since Travis' dream is to be an artist we are doing all we can to make that dream a reality. What's wrong with that?! Why not TRY?

My eyes have been opened since Travis graduated. It seems there's a very clear line between supporting someone and believing in someone. Those who support will typically ask how things are going and as soon as we turn away they shake their heads, roll their eyes, and whisper about how hard it is and how few make it in the industry.....blah, blah, blah.

So what does it mean to believe in someone? To believe in someone (whether this be Travis or someone else) means to ask, help, compliment (genuinely), and to look at their potential as a person in whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. Hardship and time never come into the picture because anything worth something takes time and is typically hard. Sacrifice is required. Fear has to be faced.

Just because something takes a long time to achieve or gain doesn't mean it's impossible. I find it interesting....do you know why the economy is the way it is? It's because we're all about instant gratification. Can't afford the home?! We'll get you in it anyways...the house payment will only be 75% of your monthly income! Groceries?!? Who needs to eat!? Gas? Who needs cars? Oh! But you already have a car payment...so that will put your debt to income ratio at....UNAFFORDABLE?!?! NO PROBLEM! You can be in your home and still be driving your luxury car tomorrow!

No wonder people are losing everything. It's heart breaking...why save up for something when you can have it now?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It almost seems like people feel the same way about careers as they do homes, cars, and name brand CRAP (Yes! CRAP!)!

I'm sorry but my heart is thumping. I have a lot of energy behind the idea that "if you can't have it now you won't ever have it". That idea is as foolish and thoughtless as the comment referenced above.

For you people out there who simply "support" my husband and his dreams - BACK OFF. It's our lives. Just because you don't dare strive for your dreams - for fear of failure - doesn't mean you have to push your mentality on us. I don't mean to offend, truly. But if this post is creating negative feelings...maybe you're who I am talking about.

Please stop with the concerned looks, the point-blank-punch-in-the-face comments, and especially the "joking" comments. The phrase "just kidding" is over used and abused. Sarcasm is 99% genuine. It hurts. It really hurts. So, stop it. Think before you say crap like that. We believe in ourselves...what's wrong with that? If you don't feel our view on life is realistic or if you feel like we're "wasting time", keep it to yourself. Quite frankly, we don't want to hear it because we don't care.

Now with that said I really feel like I need to express gratitude for those who not only support us but BELIEVE in us. Thank you. Thank you for believing in an incredible mans dreams and his determination to make them a reality. Thank you for caring. Thank you for taking the time to express words of genuine encouragement. Let me ask you a question, how long do you hold onto a genuine compliment - especially when the compliment has to do with something so hard and significant in your life? I dare say, uplifting words go a long ways.

I'm sorry if I've offended. I'm tired of sitting and watching my husband smile these sort of comments off (and know deep down that it's slicing his heart into pieces). I'm tired of people thinking they have the liberty, the right, the....obligation to tell Travis C-R-A-P like this. I believe in him. He believes in himself. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?! It is very degrading and thoughtless to say stuff like this...even if you're joking.

As for the person who made this comment...if you read this I still think highly of you. I know you meant it as a joke, truly. I know your an honest, good, caring person. For those wondering who said this, don't ask. I'm not going to tell you. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that we learn to believe in people and keep degrading comments to ourselves - whether they're said while laughing or not. If you're going to post a comment on this update I ask that you THINK before writing and posting. I am not trying to degrade a specific person (we've gotten many comments from many people that are similar to this). I am trying to put an end to inconsiderate, thoughtless, and VERY un-funny (I know that's not a word but I don't care) comments. So, please don't do that which I'm trying to put an end to. Just learn from it.

Uhg...I guess this is the straw that broke the camel's back.

Just think. Please.

Trav will most likely be unhappy, to say the least, about this post. Please out of respect don't ask him questions either. Again, it doesn't matter who, only what. Seriously. Don't ask.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

They're here........

My goal was a 4.0 this semester. I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to work and take 17 credits at school. However, when I came to understand the level of difficulty - that didn't stop me from continuing to try my hardest. I honestly put everything into my classes. Even with working my hardest I had a distinct feeling I wasn't going to get the 4.0 I hoped for. I have decided not to beat myself up for this because I don't feel like I'm settling for mediocre. In my opinion, mediocre would be doing "just enough" to pass. I honestly feel like I went above and beyond and that is NOT mediocre. So with excitement and with gratitude I post my grades:

Astronomy - B+
Biology - C
Development of the Adolescent Student - A
English 2012 - A
Fundamentals of Music - B+
Aural Music Skills - B+
Choir - A
Private Vocal - A

I wasn't sure if I was going to pass Biology. That class was freaking hard. The teacher was amazing but he was difficult. I haven't known what to expect...I will gladly take what I've been given.

Oh-my-heck! I'm so relieved I passed all my classes!!!

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Nativity

I decided to a little research on The Nativity Story. I have come to love this story, especially this year with the arrival of my niece, Mercydez. There's some interesting stuff..I encourage you to take the time to read (and watch) as you may learn something new.

1) Jesus
"Mary and Joseph did not need to be taught the deep significance of the name Jesus. The Hebrew root from which it was derived, Jehoshua, means “Jehovah is salvation.” So the mission of Jehovah, soon to be named Jesus, was salvation, and His supreme destiny was to become the Savior of the world."

2) Swaddling Clothes
"Instead of those four words: “wrapped in swaddling clothes” in the English text, only one word is needed in the Greek New Testament. That word is sparganoo, which means to envelop a newborn child with special cloth, strips of which were passed from side to side. The cloth would probably bear unique family identification. That procedure was especially applicable to the birth of a firstborn son. You remember the announcement of an angel at the birth of Jesus: 'This shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger' (Luke 2:12). His wrappings surely would have been distinctive. "

3) The Inn
"In those days an inn was not like a Holiday Inn or a Bethlehem Marriott. A lodging place in that part of Asia had to provide accommodations for traveling caravans, including the people and their animals. Caravans stayed at what was then, as still is, known as a caravansary, or a khan.

Such a facility is typically rectangular in shape. It has a central courtyard for the animals that is surrounded by walled cubicles where the people rest. These quarters allowed guests to be elevated slightly above their animals, with open doorways so that owners could watch over their animals.

The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 2:7 indicates that there was no room for them in the 'inns,' suggesting that all of the katalumas or cubicles of the caravansary were occupied."

4) The Manger
"What about the manger? The French word, manger means 'to eat.' A manger is a trough or an open box in a stable designed to hold feed, provender, or fodder for animals to eat. Elevated from the floor of the contaminated courtyard, a manger was probably the cleanest site available. Such a feeding trough became the cradle for our Lord!"

5) Mortality vs Immortality
"Jesus was born of an immortal Father and a mortal mother. From His immortal Father, Jesus inherited the power to live forever. From His mortal mother He inherited the fate of physical death.

Those unique attributes were essential for His mission to atone for the sins of all mankind. Thus Jesus the Christ was born to die (See The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 27:13–15). He died that we might live. He was born that all humankind could live beyond the grave. His Atonement was wrought in Gethsemane—where He sweat great drops of blood—and on Golgotha, or Calvary, where His body was lifted up upon a cross above the place of the skull, which signified death.

This infinite Atonement would release man from the infinitude of death (See The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:7). His Atonement made the Resurrection a reality and the gift of eternal life a possibility for all who would obey His teachings. His Atonement became the central act of all human history.

Our recollections of Christmas are enriched by these realities."
(All of the above quotes were taken from the following: Elder Russell M. Nelson, The Message: Christ the Savior Is Born, December 2006)

"We encounter Mary first in Nazareth of Galilee, perhaps sixteen years of age, being visited by Gabriel, the angelicministrant who is second only to Michael in the heavenly hierarchy. Gabriel announces to her: “Thou shalt have a son. His name shall be called Jesus. He shall be the Son of the Highest. He shall reign on the throne of his father David forever. You will be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Ghost. You will be the mother of the Son of God.” (See Luke 1:30–35.)

In my judgment, Mary is one of the greatest women who has ever lived on earth; the spirit daughter of God our Father. She was chosen to provide a body for his son, who was to be born after the manner of the flesh.

We see Mary travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea to be at the place where the Son of God is destined to be born. We see her large with child, and after a long journey, arriving late at a wayside caravanserai, which consists of a central court in which animals are kept and of surrounding rooms to be occupied by travelers. The rooms in this oriental inn are all filled. We see her, with Joseph, bed down where the animals are tethered; and that night God sends his son into the world, angelic choirs attend, and angels’ voices are heard.

We see her through a long period of difficulty and testing and turmoil in life; she travels with Joseph into Egypt and no doubt stays with relatives or Jewish friends in that land. We see her back in Nazareth as the mother who influences the young and growing years of God’s son, who teaches him to crawl and to walk and to speak and to learn the Shema and the various other Jewish religious requirements which then prevailed. We see her at Cana of Galilee, having some control and influence at a wedding feast, inviting her son to do something that commenced his public ministry of miracles.

We see her, finally, standing before a cross when her son says to John, his beloved disciple, “Behold thy mother,” and to her, “Behold thy son.” (John 19:26, 27.) And John from that hour took her into his own home.

I think we see in Mary a pattern of piety and submission to the will of the Lord which is the perfect example for all women." (The above quote was taken from the following: Elder Bruce R. McConki, Our Sisters from the Beginning, June 1979)

It was common practice for a woman to be stoned to death if she was found pregnant and unmarried. Imagine the horror and fear Mary had to face when accepting the great call to be the Mother of the Son of God. What a noble woman. I can't help but to think of Joseph as well. There was plenty of opportunity to leave Mary to the hands of justice and focus on his own pride and (to begin with) his own mis-understandings. But, in spite of all of that, he stood by her. He stayed by her side, took care of her, loved her, and trusted her. What a noble, kind man.

I hope we can remember the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is so significant and important in our lives. Had he not been born he could not have died...atoning for our sins. I have been struck with the thought recently that He was born in the most humble of circumstances, He lived and served in the most humble of circumstances, and He died in the most humble of circumstances. Let us focus on and celebrate His birth, His life, and ultimately His great death.

If you haven't already, I encourage you to watch the video posted above. It is absolutely beautiful. It is a video of The Nativity. Dim the lights, turn up the volume, and watch it with your family! It's a great way to bring the true spirit of Christmas into your home (it's 5 1/2 minutes long).

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

...it's over


It's over.

I survived my first semester back in five years. I took quite a heavy load and some pretty intense classes. I still don't know if I passed them all but I can say one thing, and do so with 100% honesty. That is that I truly tried my HARDEST in all my classes. I put in the study time, I showed up to class, I took notes, I asked questions, I read the text books...I worked hard. I just hope I pass. If I don't I think I'll spend my 25th birthday crying my eyes out on Travis' shoulders! No, not really. But I will be incredibly discouraged. I have one class in mind, biology. No offense to all the biology guru's out there, but I hate biology. I would rather hear a person sing "off" for an entire song than sit through a biology class. Uhg.

Anyway, I took my last two finals this morning. I've been preparing for quite a while for these finals so the relief I'm feeling is rather large. (ANOTHER BIG SIGH OF RELIEF)

Now I can look forward to a Merry Christmas! It's funny because I've had to keep telling people, "...After the 18th of December I can ______" Typically the blank space is filled with items such as wrapping presents, baking cookies, playing games, watching movies, shopping, etc. Well, guys! Let's wrap presents, let's bake cookies, let's play games...watch movies and go shopping! It's over!


Monday, December 15, 2008


I have a few minutes and thought I'd take advantage of them and post some of my thoughts. I have had many of them recently. I feel like my brain has been in training for this enormous marathon. With that training comes a lot of excerize and preparation. I'm pooped. But it's a good "pooped".

I have a friend I've been thinking about for some time now. I just met her this semester. Her name is Marj. It's so interesting because it feels like I've known her for a long time - long before now. I have talked to my mom about her a lot. She is an inspiring woman who sees the best in people. She believes in people too...genuinely believes everyone has great potential. She also has a very honest spirit about her. She doesn't hold back who she is, what she believes, or her ways of thinking. She's comfortable with who she is. And the great thing is, is that with this understanding of who she is she only becomes better. She allows those around her to be who they are. She is positive in all respects. Not once has she used her knowledge, experiences, or status to intimidate, degrade, or offend. She is innocent of all negativity. She's awesome.

Marj and I have had some good conversations. We seem to understand one another on a totally different level too. She gets me and I feel, to a certain degree, I get her. We have had opportunities to share sacred things with one another...to share some funny stories...and typically when we're done visiting we end things with a hug. I've thought about this too. It seems like people tend to give hugs just because they have to. Not always, but generally speaking, people give what I like to call "polite hugs". Marj doesn't. When she hugs you she means it. When she expresses her thoughts and feelings, she means it. She's totally genuine.

This past Saturday I was able to express my love and passion for music through a presentation in class with Marj. The entire time I was speaking Marj was just crying. SHE GETS IT! She understands my passion. She understands music. jShe understands the power behind a note. She understands me! While I was up giving my presentation I had to force myself not to look at Marj because I KNEW I'd start crying as well. Like I said, we've shared some sacred things. These things have one thing (among others) in common, that is music.

I am so sad at the thought of not seeing Marj on a regular basis. Her hugs and words of comfort, advise, and encouragement have lifted me. I feel I am a better person because of her. I feel I believe in myself and my writing abilities because of her. I feel like I am capable of so much more BECAUSE OF HER. There are only a few other people in my life who have had such an influence...and those people know who they are. They are my inspirations. Now I am fortunate enough to have met and include Marj on my list of truly inspirational people.

I'm sure some of you are questioning who this woman is. Let me tell you a little about Marj. Marj is my English teacher at UVU. Marj married in her later years (by Utah standards!) and became the mother of her husbands children. She never had her own children, as far as I'm aware, but I don't question her love for her "step-children" to be any less passionate or pure than had she given birth to them. Marj was adopted and has other adopted siblings, as her mother wasn't able to have children. She doesn't seem to be angry about her situation. If anything she comes off as grateful and happy. Marj has a deep passion for writing. Not just writing, but passionate, personal, and pure writing (the same qualities Mozart looked for in music)! But in her passion for writing she expresses herself equally through word. She holds herself to the same standards she holds her students and she doesn't disappoint. Not even a little.

Marj, if you happen to read this I hope you know how much I value you as a friend. I told you Saturday how inspirational you are. I meant it. You have offered me an new point of view. You have opened many doors for me. You have only made me better. Thank you for an incredible semester. I will MISS your class...didn't we have a great class??!! Peter, Jason, Jessica, Linda, Zack....I could go on and on.

You know, I wonder if we knew each other before this life. I feel like we did...and I know I can say that without freaking you out because you know what I'm saying. ;) God bless you and your wonderful family!

I hope you have a beautiful Christmas holiday. I hope you remember how incredible you are, how inspirational you are, how warm and welcoming you are, how much you offer to your students. I have NEVER had a teacher like you in my life. I only hope I can do you a service by being more like you with those I associate with, whether that be professionally, personally, or randomly.

I sincerely love you and wish you the best.


*Even with this post I still feel I haven't done Marj justice...she is so deserving. What an elect lady. Marj, maybe we could do lunch sometime!?!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Justified :)

It's been a while, I know. I feel like every other post I'm reassuring everyone we're still alive and kicking. It's been a busy few weeks, to say the least, and now with finals approaching I'm growing fond of the idea of taking an eternal nap. :) School has been kicking my trash! But I still love it. I wouldn't be anywhere else. I've already registered for classes next semester and can't wait to dive in - well I guess I can at this point. I just want to get some sleep.

So a quick list of reasons why I feel justified for disappearing for so long:

1) Without making light of the situation in the least I was and still am exhausted from the incident in October. Mercydez is my life. She is my sweetie. That nearly took me and I'm doing my best to continue recovering.

2) We moved AGAIN! We are now living with my parents and are slowly adjusting to the newness of it all. I had forgotten how quickly hot water can disappear, how often the washer and dryer seem to be full, and how quickly dishes pile up in the kitchen! There is now a total of ten people living at my parents (including our adorable Mercydez) and it's been an adventure. My parents and siblings are awesome so I'm not worried in the least. It'll be a party!

3) We re-did my parents basement before, during, and...well, we're STILL working on it. Our bathroom has a cement floor (we've bought tile just haven't found the time to lay it) and a hole between the bathtub and toilet....hard to imagine. But it is what it is. We're hoping with the holiday break we'll be able to finish up the bathroom. That would be AMAZING!

4) On top of this being my first semester back in school and taking 17 credits I am working. Let me just say HOLY CRAP! Homework has been intense, tests have nearly caused me to collapse in frustration (I swear, no matter how many hours I put into studying I will NEVER get an A), and being required to perform solos in class (since I'm a vocal music major - which is a performing art - I am required to sing regularly in class) which almost make me hyperventilate, it's no wonder I haven't found time to post! ;) AND ON TOP OF ALL THAT I WORK! It's worth it though. I love being back. Learning, growing, and improving...nothing beats it.

No but seriously, about the performing thing. The first time I performed my heart was thumping so hard I could barely breathe. I had to, literally, go in the women's bathroom, sit in a stall, and remind myself to breathe. As I as doing this I was reassuring myself I could do it. I'm determined to overcome this fear I have...I wasn't like this growing up. I don't know why I am now.

5) The stress of figuring out how we're going to survive w/such a small income (now that I'm part time and Trav is still working on his business) has thrown me through the loop. I HATE MONEY! Uhg. Even though I don't have to go anywhere physically, I'm there mentally and emotionally and it's exhausting.

On top of losing money because of going part time we also lost our insurance. So I've been meeting, calling, and following up with many people. We finally have insurance but my ideas on insurance have only been confirmed through all this. My belief is this: THE FREAKIN' INSURANCE COMPANIES RULE THE WORLD. They can deny anyone and anything they want and there's nothing you or I can do about it...even though we're paying a pretty penny for coverage. Yes, there's A LOT of heat behind this.

Shall I stop or would you like more? ;) For your sake and mine I'll stop. Unfortunately finals are taking place these next two weeks so I probably won't get to posting another update until after. I'll try though.

Trav has been busy too. In fact, this week is the first time he's been able to TOUCH his art since the beginning of November. For the last month he has been painting my parents house, packing, loading, unpacking, touching up, and setting up. His poor back was hurting him pretty bad a few weeks ago. He could barely stand from all the kneeling, lifting, carrying, etc.

He's now back in his happy place. ;) He's set up his study area and I must say it looks pretty good. I'm relieved he's finally able to go back to work. He loves what he does and I'm grateful for that. He's such a good guy. I have only fallen more in love with him as I've watched him the last few weeks. His determination to get things done - and done right - is awesome. He's a VERY hard worker. I love him so much.

So, without any pictures and with a whole lot of emotion I will now post this update. I hope I didn't come off as complaining or upset. I'm not. Both Travis and I are happy. Truly happy. We're just SUPER busy. My intent was to portray that and only that.

Life is intense right now but it sure is good.


Trav & Adrienne

**I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. Ours was wonderful! I'll blog more about the events of the past when I have more than ten minutes to pluck away at the computer. There's a lot to catch up on. However, I will say that just because I haven't had time to blog (which, believe it or not, I DO feel guilty about it being 5 weeks since my last) doesn't mean I haven't been staying up to date with everyone else!! Keep the posts comin'!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Angelita!

I just wanted to wish one of my good friends a wonderful birthday! She is 25 now....but informed me in the wee hours she still feels like she's 17.

Angel is such a good person. I have known her since the Elementary days. We've gone through a lot together. We've had our ups and our downs. We've cried together, laughed together, endured together.

When ever I think of Angel I think of a few things:

1) Flowers and cards
*She always brings flowers and a beautiful card on special occasions. She's very thoughtful.

2) Bryan
*Angel has married one of the nicest, best guys out there. Bryan is a very compassionate person. He leads by example.

3) Memories
*It seems everytime I'm around Angel we tend to talk about the "old days". We laugh a lot!

4) Determination
*Angel has a strong spirit. Her family has been dealt a hard hand in life and she has only become better from it. She loves her family, her friends, and even complete strangers. She has a great amount of charisma! She's the life of the party!

5) Animals
*I swear all our growing up days, and even now, Angel has had numerous pets. Birds, fish, cats, dogs, rabbits...you name it, she's had it! She loves animals and has a way with them.

6) Beautiful pictures
*Angel is an incredible photographer. She took my families pictures last year (the one posted of me and trav at the top of this blog was taken by her) and many other peoples pictures and they always turn out beautiful. She has an eye for beauty and it shows in her work. If you are interested in getting family pictures take a look at her blog: www.Myangelicmoments.blogspot.com

Angelita, I hope you had a beautiful birthday! I have been thinking about you all day. I know you understand the circumstances...you always do. Please know our hearts are with you as you celebrate the big 2-5 at a skating rink with an 80's themed birthday party! That's just like you too! Go big or go home...you always go big!

I love you!!! Happy birthday!!!


We're still here. Oh my goodness, I have to say this has probably been one of the longest, hardest, fastest, and faith-provoking week of my life. No joke. While I have loved learning and growing in my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I hope I never have to go through this again. I hope no one has to go through this. With that said, death is inevitable. We will all die at some point. I've come to the conclusion that death is as natural as birth but it feels as unnatural as anything I've ever had to face. It's hard. It's very painful. I also recognize that for some death is a release. It is a way for those who are suffering to escape that awful reality and go somewhere pain-free. While I am happy (TRULY) for those who are able to be released it is hard and extremely scary to "deal with" when you're the one being left behind. When it comes to a fight between true love and selfishness, love will always win. For that reason we are truly wanting what's best for Mercydez. I know I've said that a million times. I keep saying it because I need to remind myself. It's during the hard times when dignity, faith, love, compassion, and strength are defined. I want to step up to the plate and honor those I love by becoming better, not bitter, during these hard times.

Mercydez is still here. She is absolutely incredible. I don't know what else to say. She's determined to be here. To stay. We don't know how long her life will be here on earth but we don't take a second for granted. Seriously. Life is fragile. Life is good. Mercydez has been a blessing. I love her so much.

Nic and Ash have been incredible too. They are rocks. They refuse to let their faith in God and their testimony that God is a loving God shake. They are rooted and refuse to be otherwise. In fact, it was during one of the many moments we had, when we thought Mercydez was going to leave us, that Ashley took the opportunity to share her testimony with loved ones. She encouraged them to honor her by learning and becoming better through this. She encouraged us to pray for comfort. And she said all this while holding her precious baby in her arms, with Nic's arms around the two of them...not knowing what the next few seconds held. It was absolutely stunning. And absolutely horrible. Uhh...I don't know what I'm trying to say...only that I love and admire Nic and Ash. I will be forever grateful to them and only hope to love and serve them as much as I can. They are good people.

We have had so many family and friends come and express words of kindness, bring meals, text & call, etc. Thank you. Thank you for thinking of us. We know everyone is dealing with their own trials and for all of you to take the time to share your love....we are so grateful. Thank you.

We are trying to get back to "normal" now. Mercydez is doing much better but she's still extremely weak and tired. Like I said above, the only thing we know right now is that WE DON'T KNOW. Nothing is predictible only the unpredictable. I'm sure I'm confusing you...with everything we've gone through this week my brain has kind of turned off. I can't remember anything right now so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm making no sense at all. But we are trying to be normal. I went back to school Thursday and had a hard time. I was so nervous to leave the house. I did okay but I think I irritated Ashley to no-end because I was calling and texting every 30 minutes or so to check on things.

I would be extremely ungrateful if I didn't post an expression of appreciation to my husband. Travis has really stepped up. He has just sat with me, doing a whole lot of nothing, while watching and pondering Mercydez. He made sure to always have physical contact with me too. I noticed his hand on my back when I was sitting on the bed bawling my eyes out, his finger twisted around my fingers when I was cuddling with Mercydez, his arm around me as I sat staring off in space. Travis really is incredible. I have often laid in bed (on the nights I'm able to keep my eyes opened) and wondered why I have been so lucky to get a man who cares. He cares about me so much. Do I deserve this? NO! But for some reason I have been blessed. I am so grateful for him. Travis, I love you. Thank you for putting everything aside (cancelling your trip to Seattle to be with your dad, brother, sister and her family) to offer comfort and support. I hope I can give you the gift of going to Seattle in the near future. I know you were looking forward to spending time with your dad and Nolan, John & Kahli and "the boys". I'm so sorry you cancelled that yet so grateful you did.

Travis' family has been so supportive as well. Thank you, Bruce, Mary Kay, Cam & Alicia, Nolan & Katie, John & Kahli for your concern. I have married into an incredible family. They are wonderful people. Thank you.

We don't know what this week will hold. However I am going to do my best to acknowledge the hand of God in all things. I worry Mercydez stayed with us because of the pressure to stay from loved ones (what I mean by "loved ones" is me). When I think about that too much I feel extremely guilty. I don't want her to stay and suffer because of my selfish desires. I have honestly prayed for Heavenly Fathers' will to be done. I believe in answered prayers. So if she's still here it must be His will. If she passes it's His will. I HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT.

uhhh...so many thoughts and feelings. I feel like my body could explode from the intensity of all these things going through me right now. I don't know. It's crazy.

We love you and will keep you posted. Thank you for your prayers. WE HAVE FELT THE POWER BEHIND THEM. I've told some of you that before. It's the truth.


**I just wanted to express my love for a little boy who has spent his first year of life in the hospital. My little Corbin celebrated his first birthday this past thursday (Oct 23rd) with family, friends, nurses, doctors....and he did so in the hospital. I have had little Corbin on my mind a lot lately. I have mourned for his parents who have had to raise their first child in the NICU. They have to drive everyday to see their son, to kiss him good night, tell him good morning, to play with him, to talk with him...Stacy and Chance are noble people. They are amazing parents. Stacy and Chance have also influenced me for the better. I have had many conversations with Stacy. Most through texting and some through phone calls. She has been a rock for me. Thank you, Stacy. Even though your precious son is in the hospital you always take the time to check in with us to see how our little miracle girl is doing.

They received some great news though! CORBIN GETS TO GO HOME THIS WEDNESDAY!!! That is a miracle. They are deserving of this. I am so happy for them. I can't wait to meet my little chunky monkey. I have never met him but I love him passionately. You guys are on my mind constantly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An update

My precious baby-niece is still with us. We are doing all we can to stay strong in our faith. We are surrounding her with love, cuddling, singing, kisses, reminiscing, and testimonies of eternal families. In fact, I've had the great opportunity to have been cuddling with her all morning. We've been laying on the bed, singing primary songs together. I've been playing with her little hands and her cute little feet. Children are such miracles. Children are such blessings.

Nic and Ash are staying strong...they are tired but won't leave their daughters side. Who can blame them? She's so beautiful. She's so strong. She's such a great example. She gets these great characteristics from her incredible parents. I look up to Nic and Ash so much. I hope they know that even though I have been and will continue to be crying next to them, I have a shoulder to cry on as well. I ache to be a part of this. I love the three of them too much not to be. This little family is just phenomenal.

I find it amazing Mercydez has the strength to influence people so strongly. I've had numerous people express deep love for our girl. We are so blessed to have her as ours. Oh, how I'll miss her! It nearly kills me.

Thank you for your prayers. Please keep praying.
Thank you for caring and loving Nic, Ash, & Mercydez so much, as well. She has been living off of love. She's had a beautiful life. And if it's Heavenly Fathers will we will do all we can to continue to offer her the best, most beautiful life possible. If not, we will honor, respect, and always remember her...my baby.

She is so beautiful.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Love, happiness, and a huge amount of faith

What an eventful few days we've had. Travis did an incredible job surprising me with many activities! We went and saw Aida at The Hale Center Theater Thursday night. That was an incredible show and the music was great. We also went to the Covey Center for the Arts and saw a show by the Utah Premiere Brass. It was very entertaining! The music was great and I thought it was even better that they applied their music to movies of past and present. They did a great job proving how much music influences movies, feelings, scenes, etc. We went up to Gardner Village (quickly becoming one of my new favorite places) and had lunch while enjoying a great show called "Witch-a-polooza". It was so entertaining and super cute. So, basically we have had the great opportunity to celebrate for three days and it has been marvelous. I couldn't pick a better person to spend so much time with. :) I am madly in love with Travis and am so happy because of him. He is incredible. He is so passionate and kind. He is gentle and thoughtful. He is unique and perfect for me. He truly is my best friend. I'm grateful for that. I love that we not only love each other, we like each other.

With all of this happiness there has been quite the trial. Our precious Mercydez is sick. She's really been struggling and we are just leaning on our faith. We know Heavenly Father is heavily involved with Mercydez and her life. She has been a gift to us. She has made us better. She has influenced me in such a great amount..I am crazy about her. My heart has grown a thousand times over. And it's all because of this precious, beautiful baby girl.

If it is her time to go - though it will be hard - I will be so happy for her. She lived an incredible life. She lived and testified of the beauty of the church, of eternal families, of life after death. She has taught me so much in such a short amount of time. My heart is physically breaking, I can feel it. It hurts so bad I can barely breathe. I look at her and just ache to take her pain and suffering away. I also ache for Nic and Ash. This has been so hard for them. It is a parents worst nightmare to lose a child. They have been so incredible. They are determined to allow her to leave this world surrounded by loved ones, being held and protected. They love her so much and she loves them.

The past twelve to twenty-four hours have been so hard and so sacred. I almost shudder thinking about sharing them so casually on my blog. I have felt the pure love of God through my niece. I have felt of her incredibly strong, mature, and PERFECT spirit through her struggles. And for that reason alone I ache. I hate that she has struggled so much. I hate that she has gone through hell - LITERALLY - numerous times and still fights to live. She has such strength.

I am sorry I can't go on and on about my wonderful anniversary. I had planned on posting an enormous love note (an appropriate one) on line...I just can't right now. My heart is being shattered every moment. My faith is what's allowing me to breathe. No matter when "my baby" leaves this world I know I will have an empty hole in my heart and in my spirit that will never be filled. AND THAT'S OKAY. I lean on my faith in God. My faith in eternal families. I know I will be with Mercydez again and when I see her again she will be able to dance and sing and play. I can't wait for that moment. I will fall to the ground with tears in my eyes and an overwhelming sense of love in my heart. That doesn't mean it will be easy though.

I love this precious Angel. She is my life. She is my soul. She is mine.

Please pray for us. Please pray that Heavenly Father's will be done. If it is time for her to pass please pray it will be done in a peaceful, loving environment with little or no suffering. If it is not her time to pass please pray she may recover in peace. We only want what is truly best for this incredible child, even if it's not what we want. Her suffering is our suffering. Her happiness is our happiness. Please remember Nic and Ashley as well. They need comfort and support at this time. No one knows what lies ahead for precious Mercydez. All we know is that we have faith that Heavenly Father is a part of her life, and for that we are so grateful. Because of our faith in God we know things will work out the way they are supposed to, on His timeline. It is ultimately Him who knows what is best for her. So, please pray for that. Pray for what's best for Mercydez.

God bless you and yours.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


So I was tagged by my sister, Ash. I have no idea how to copy and paste the picture that goes with the whole "tag" game. But I'm supposed to write seven weird facts about myself. I have been trying and trying to come up with some.....this is the best I can do:

1) I love school. I am the annoying girl in the hall who is always smiling because she's soooo happy to be there, even when it's 7:00 am!

2) I have been married for five years, in Utah valley, and still don't have children. I don't flaunt this in an obnoxious way, so please don't take it like that. It's just odd to be in the situation we're in while living where we live. We honestly want to have children. Now just isn't the time. PLUS! We have our nieces and nephews as our "children" right now!!!! We love them like our own!

3) I am uncomfortable wearing shorts shorter than about an inch or two above my knee. I feel naked and I don't like it.

4) I jump when I sleep

5) I was at my dentists a few weeks ago for my cleaning and the hygienist was cleaning my teeth in such a detailed way she actually knocked out a crown and IT SLID DOWN MY THROAT!! Yeah, I swallowed the sucker. It was horrible. I sat up and looked at the hygienist and said, "I think I just swallowed my tooth. I don't know if I should be embarrassed or laugh because it's hilarious." I've basically decided my dentist is nothing shy of a moron. As soon as our trade is gone I'm switching dentists. I won't even begin telling you the rest of the story...if you catch my drift. ;)

6) I shave my arms. Go ahead, gasp and think I'm odd. Now look at your arms and come to the harsh realization that mine don't look like yours. :)

7) I've thrown up on the Statue of Liberty grounds, right outside an outdoor cafe. It was horrible. Need I say more? Didn't think so.

So now I'm supposed to tag a few other people but I think everyone I know, that has a blog, has been tagged. So, I'll take a stab in the dark and pick people I believe haven't been tagged yet: Pinky, Sheila, Deedra, Jessie, & Liza.


"Umm, yeah. It's been five years"

Travis and I are approaching our anniversary and we're stoked! I have had an amazing marriage thus far. I married a man who is truly a man. He has so much I admire and try to emulate. Seriously. He has inspired me to be better. I know people always say that but I really mean it. Travis is the one who showed me how to work for what I want. A perfect example of this is my education. Before I married Trav I knew it was important to go to college but I didn't value it. I wasn't overly anxious to get my degree because I didn't understand the importance of it. This is no ones fault but my own. I just didn't get it.

The first few years (umm...okay like the first four years) of marriage I was the breadwinner and Trav was the student. He went to school and did homework all the time. I remember him taking the time to write a good paper. He never settled for mediocre. He ALWAYS put his all into his assignments. Me on the other hand...I'd B.S. my way through anything. So long as I passed I was happy. Oh, how things have changed! I spent my entire day yesterday at school! I spent well over ten hours on a three page paper (six if it's double spaced!) and that's a big deal for me! I NEVER used to do that. I totally credit Trav for leading by example. He has always worked hard for his grade and more often then not it paid off. I want to be just like him.

So, our five year anniversary is approaching (it's this Thursday to be exact!!!). Trav has taken it upon himself to make plans for the entire weekend. We'll be celebrating for a few days. I can't wait. I have no idea what's up his sleeve but I'm sure it's going to be awesome!!! FIVE YEARS!?!?!? How time flies!

I was the first to get married in my family. That was a hard time. There were many nights I would cry and cry and cry. I had never been away from my family, not even temporarily! It was a hard adjustment. Looking back I can laugh at it but I'll tell you what! When I was living in the moment Trav handled it perfectly. Kudos to you cutie.

Anyway, I have loved being married. I would like to share some of my greatest married moments with you:

1) "borrowing" (I use the word loosely) toilet paper from my parents because we didn't have money to buy some. My younger sister, Auriel, saw me sneak out a roll and asked (in front of everyone) why I was taking a roll, to which I explained (to everyone) that we had no money!

2) Driving out to Minnesota for our annual visit and being pulled over in the ugliest state from I-80, Wyoming, and getting a $200 ticket. Getting home only to get TWO MORE TICKETS! This is the point I implemented the 1 ticket = 1 month of cooking rule. I'm happy to say that so far it's worked.

3) Getting baby hungry around year two of marriage (and freaking Trav out!) only to be called to primary and decide I never want to have children (my heart has softened since then, thankfully).

4) Playing co-ed softball with Travis once a week during the summer. Although I don't play anymore I frequently think about how fun it was to play together.

5) Some of my favorite moments with Trav are those quick moments that pass so fast you don't realize they even exist....I do though. I love it when we find the same thing hilarious at the exact same time. We burst into laughter and look at each other. It's only for a moment but it's a moment of pure joy. I love watching Trav laugh.

6) Ahhh....one of my FAVORITE moments of being married! I hope you're sitting down. Our first year or so of marriage in our apartment. We frequently have our niece and nephews spend the weekend with us. This one particular weekend we had the three of them, Braxton, Marin, & Grayson....now this was a while ago so they were a lot smaller than they are now. Well Trav was teasing Marin and making her cry (he always does this). Marin is a quick learner. She caught on to the whole teasing thing and figured out how to push his buttons. So she did. And she did it well. Well, Trav had had enough and got after her. Marin started crying and came running to me. I got after Trav to which he said, "You always take her side!" and stomped out of the room! I couldn't help but to laugh. Even now I find it hilarious!

7) Taking family pictures (my side) and watching Trav stand by the women because he's so much shorter then the boys in my family. Trav is good natured and takes it. I love that he can laugh at himself and not take things so seriously.

8) Spending an entire month with him in NYC. That was awesome. I loved walking the streets of Manhattan with him. It totally rocked! I'd have to say he's my favorite travel buddy!!

9) Pillow talk. So many people have televisions or other distractions in their bedrooms. Travis and I have vowed not to. We don't have anything against those who enjoy having TV's and stuff in their rooms! We just value our pillow talk time. It's really the only opportunity we have to discuss important things. Yes, during pillow talk we talk about how grateful we are that we have pillow talk. ;)

10) Going camping with him in the desert. Trav didn't know it rains in the desert at night and when he found out he was laying on his back in a tent with his arms and legs sticking straight up holding the tent up. At the same time he was yelling "I THOUGHT IT DIDN'T RAIN IN THE DESERT!!!!!" He was so ticked but my whole family (including myself) was laughing in their own tents (yes! They heard him!) which made him even more upset.

Those are just a few of my favorite moments. I'll share more when it's our actual anniversary - I know you're thrilled....you don't have to tell me!

Other than our anniversary coming up things have been pretty much the same 'ol - same 'ol. I am working my buns off at school and I'm soooooo happy to be there. Seriously, I haven't been this happy with my career-life in a while. I just smile when I'm not crying from all the stress of homework, presentations, papers, and tests. Ugh...I'm a horrible test-taker.

Trav is still doing his "thang" with his art. We have some hopeful things taking place right now but I don't dare share too much for fear of jinxing ourselves. He's been busy working on new projects and making contacts. I am soooo freaking proud of him for having the courage to follow his dreams.

We did go to a concert this past week. Anyone heard of Weezer before?!? OF COURSE YOU HAVE! It was an awesome show. I'd probably say it was one of my favorite concerts. We didn't have general admission, good thing because there were some stupid guys moshing in there, but we still enjoyed the show. Rivers Cuomo is one weird guy but he's awesome to watch! He brought in a little trampoline and was jumping on it while playing his guitar! The band came out in white jump-suits but Rivers also had a head sock on. It was hilarious. They did a good job of not only performing their songs but PUTTING ON A SHOW. They had a lot of interaction with the audience too.

In fact Weezer had a radio station out here do auditions for anyone who would want to play with them during their concert. They had about 30 people up on stage playing guitars, tubas, trumpets, accordians, cellos, etc. It was awesome. I've never heard of a band sharing their love of music in that way.

One thing that stands out about the concert is the people (the good people) in General Admission held a boy up on their shoulders in his wheel chair. It was awesome! Out of nowhere this boy was sitting in his wheel chair above everyone. I actually got the chills when I saw that.

Anyways, we've been busy and doing well. I've blabbed enough. I hope you are all doing well too.

Happy October!!!! It's a great month, isn't it!???!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


As some of you may read Nic and Ashley's blog...I, too, wanted to recognize a wonderful man in my life...my Grandpa.

My Grandpa has been someone I've loved since day one. In fact, one of my first memories is practicing music with him. My twin sister, Ashley, and I used to sing with Grandpa in church. This was a regular happening. I loved singing "A Childs Prayer" with him. It was so special and it still is.

I cherish a lot about my Grandpa. One of the many things I love about him is his loyalty. My Grandpa would die for anyone in his family. I know that sounds cliche' but it is 110% the truth! He would give anything and everything for his family. That includes his life. I admire that about him.

Another thing I cherish about my Grandpa is his ability to share what he has, even though it wasn't served to him on a silver platter (maybe that is why he's so willing. He knows how blessed he is because he had to work for it). My Grandpa has had to work H-A-R-D for what he has. He had a rough childhood, in regards to worldly things, and endured through a lot of hard work and experiences to enable himself. He is an example of someone who takes their experiences and becomes better from them. And even with all the blood, sweat, and tears put into his possessions he still shares. It's a common thing for my Grandpa and Grandma Judi to have the widows in their neighborhoods over for Sunday dinner...just one of the small ways he makes a difference in his community. It doesn't stop there either. His heart is enormous. His soul is so good and loving.

My Grandpa has always had an eye on everyone in his family. He is such a great patriarch. He leads and guides through example. Travis has commented numerous times on how little my Grandpa says when with others. But Travis is always sure to point out that when my Grandpa speaks it's either with humor or with an abundance of knowledge. In other words, he doesn't just speak up to speak up; he listens. And when he has something to say, he says it. But he doesn't just talk to talk. He uses wisdom, experience, humor, and love in his words. And the cool thing is is that sometimes he doesn't have to say a thing. His presence is enough. He has a great aura about himself. I believe this is because of his good character.

My Grandpa has done a wonderful job loving and caring for his family. He has lived an example of endurance, persistence, determination, fearlessness, righteousness, and kindness. I believe he has been and will continue to be rewarded for it.

I love you Grandpa. I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

still here and kickin'

Life is BUSY! Things are good though. We're still here and kickin'. I'm just not able to update this as often as I'd like.

Well, Trav and the guys showed up to the Less Than Jake/Rancid concert a week and a half ago only to find the concert was cancelled. I guess someone in the band (not sure which one) broke their arm or something so the entire concert was cancelled. Trav was torked. I'm sure anyone who knows Trav knew that long before I said it. :) The guys ended up going bowling. Trav didn't have too much fun. Poor guy.

Friday night (a little over a week ago) Trav and I went to a Phantom Planet concert in SLC. It was a lot of fun. However Phantom Planet was one of the opening bands and not the headlining band so they only played for...ummmm....twenty minutes or so. It was a total bummer. We were supposed to have back stage passes but that didn't happen, however Trav was able to work some miracles (I believe there was divine intervention as well) and he was still able to meet with them, show them his website, and get them to sign his work. It's one crazy story too. I'll quickly give you the readers digest version: He ended up paying one of the security guards $6.00 (YES! SIX BUCKS!) and was able to "sneak" back stage...this is when he sat down with the guys and talked to them about working on their music video and such. He told the band he had some work in the car and was wondering if he could get their autographs. They were laid back and told him to meet them after the show in the back of the building and while they were loading up their equipment they'd sign it for him.

Well after the show we went to the back but there was no band...well there was but they were locked behind a fence. So we waited, hoping they'd come out. They never did. The lead singer of the headlining band, Bradley I believe, came out to greet his fans and made his way over to us. Since we were wearing Phantom Planet t-shirts he asked if we'd like him to find the band for us. Of course we were like, "HECK YEAH!". Bradley (I don't think that was his name...) went behind the fence and came back only to tell us they had left. We were crushed, mostly Trav. He'd worked so hard and looked forward to this for sooooo long! Bradley said he'd call Sam, the base player of Phantom Planet, to see where they were. He did but only got Sams voicemail. Uhhh! We were so disappointed!

Just as we were thanking Bradley for his help and getting ready to leave his phone rang and sure enough it was Sam! They told Bradley where they were and told him to tell us. We, of course, hopped in the car and buzzed over. I told Trav I'd stay in the car while he went in. With everything that had happened I didn't want to come across as stalker-like (but I DID want to meet them). I told Trav to keep it short and sweet so they wouldn't be annoyed by him. I say this because they are familiar with Trav and his work and I didn't want us chasing them around Salt Lake City influence they're future desire to use Trav's talents. Trav was FINALLY able to show them the poster he'd made and they all signed it! They really like it. In fact, they liked it so much Sam gave Trav his email address and told him to contact him around November, when they'd be done touring. So, we're hoping for the best in that regard. Even if nothing comes of it AT LEAST WE TRIED.

Trav w/the guys of Phantom Planet - September 19, 2008

So that was our adventure for the month. It was a crazy night. We didn't get home until well after midnight. We were exhausted the next day! All the emotions we felt in the few hours of the concert were intense and just wiped us out. But we're glad we went. We're glad things turned out the way they did! On our way home we came across this exotic car. It's sad because I don't even know what kind of a car it is...maybe my brothers won't even be impressed??? I dunno but we snapped a quick picture for 'em anyway. They are OBSESSED with cars! It's not the greatest picture but hopefully it'll work.

Anyways, we have recently set up an awesome kareoke area in our basement. Nic and Ash invested in some serious equipment and we've been having so much fun with it! Many a-nights you'll find all of us down there belting out some crazy tune! What can we say?!?! It's too fun to pass up. Here is one of Travis' awesome performances. Seriously, click on the play button. It's long (30 seconds or so) but you'll get a GREAT laugh from it! He's so cute! I love so much about him...one of the many things I love is he just doesn't give a crap what others think. He just does his thing! This is proof! I would put one up of me but - one - I'm too embarassed. Two -I'm not nearly as entertaining! But I think you'll be plenty satisfied with seeing just him....

Anyone know what song that is?!? He, he, he!

Another bit of weird news, but news nonetheless...my car reached 100,000 miles this week. it's bitter-sweet. I love my car. It's not the most luxurious but it's been a great car. I'm converted to the Honda brand. I have nothing but good to say about those cars. I hope to use my car for another five years...at least!

Since going back to school I've been tired a lot. I have fallen asleep pretty much everywhere. thankfully I've been able to avoid falling asleep in the bathroom though. Trav says that within a three seconds from laying down I'm flinching/jumping. Does anyone else jump while they sleep? I think I have a bad case of the wiggles because my limbs go crazy! Trav says he laughs a lot but I've been too tired to hear him. Anyway, I fell asleep holding the second love of my life, Mercydez, and Ash took a picture. I only like this because it shows how adorable she is...she loves to cuddle! I LOVE THAT GIRL!

Mercydez is doing quite well. And we're so grateful for that. She is starting to express her opinion more and more each day. Nic and Ash have the cutest girl ever. Honestly!! I'm going to post a couple of pictures of her....I can't help myself!

Mercydez and Daddy cuddling

Isn't she so adorable? I love you Mercydez.

We did a walk for heart disease awareness a few weeks ago and Mercydez was as stylin' as anyone!

Two pretty girls: Mommy and Mercydez. Isn't her flower soooo cute??!!

The Princess sleeps....

I'm sorry...I just found this other recording of Trav. It's the same song/performance it's just a different part of it! Check out his dance moves!!! Ohhh....I laugh so hard I cry! What a guy.

I have such a wonderful family!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Travis has been playing raquet ball with my brother and some friends on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's really funny because he has come home with some crazy injuries. I finally asked him if they're playing raquet ball or if they're wrestling! This past Thursday Trav came home with a black (right) eye, he also has an enormous cut about an inch below his right eye. I was told he was bleeding all over the place. I guess he took an elbow to the face - thanks Luke for playing so sloppy ;) And this is just one of many injuries...

Anyways, this coming Tuesday Travis will be going to a concert with a bunch of guys, some are those he plays raquet ball with (who seem to enjoy beating on him). All the guys are stoked. My brothers are going, except for Kade since he now lives in Idaho Falls, and Nic and his brothers are going. The only thing that would make it an amazing night would be if Kade could some how go. Less Than Jake & Rancid will be playing - need I say more? Didn't think so. I'll try to find the time to update the blog with pix or with details on the "guys night out".

And this coming Friday Trav & I are going to see Phantom Planet play in SLC. They have this insane CD out right now. It's intense. I love listening to them. Look 'em up and listen to the song, "Raise the Dead". TURN UP THE VOLUME! It's better that way.

I don't know if everyone knows but Trav and I have felt it's time for me to pursue my education. I have decided to major in Music Education (secondary). This means I can teach choir! I've always wanted to learn how to conduct a mass of people and now I'm able to start moving in that direction. But with this there are a lot of unknowns and that is always scary. How are we going to survive? What about health/dental insurance? How am I going to find the time to complete all my homework!? What about my hours at work (if I'm not able to stay full-time)? AHHHHH! So much to think about. I was talking to one of my best friends, my Grandmother, today and she was expressing her concern. I told her I felt very strong about going to school. Had anyone asked me two months ago about my education I wouldn't have told you I was going back to school!! And now here I am taking 17 credits! I have so much to learn. I know very little about music, only that I love it and want to surround myself in it as much as I can. Needless to say, it's gonna be hard, crazy, and exhausting and that's okay.

I told the cashier at the University bookstore that I was the "annoying" girl in class who always asks questions. It's because I want to learn as much as I can...to some extent I'm digging my own grave. But hey at least I'll die happy! ;) Seriously though, I am the girl who always has something to ask the teacher. I'm sure there are many students who roll their eyes everytime my hand is raised. I feel bad I irritate people but my mentality is this: I PAID TO GO TO SCHOOL JUST LIKE THEY DID. YOU BETTER BELIEVE I'M GOING TO ASK QUESTIONS AND GET MY MONEY'S WORTH.

I have to give credit where credit is deserved. Travis is completely supportive of this. He is so awesome. He's the reason I have confidence to go back. I feel so rusty in so many ways. I haven't been to school in years. Travis believes in me. He has been doing all he can to help me stay focused on my homework. Let me tell ya! I'm NOT used to having homework. Travis is wonderful. He asks me how school went each day. He is truly interested and I'm so grateful for his confidence in me.

No, I'm going to do my best and work really hard to learn everything and to learn it well. I feel it is a privledge to attend school. There are so many people through out the world who don't have the opportunity. I'm grateful. I'm excited. And I'm scared to death! But this is where I'm supposed to be so one way or another it has to work out.

I know this whole blog post is random. I have a lot on my mind and I'm not sure how to jot it down without being completely random. My head feels like scrambled eggs right now...I know, random.

Monday, September 1, 2008

One of the greatest achievements of my life

A little over a week ago I helped with a fundraising yard sale for my beautiful niece, Mercydez. We organized a yard/bake sale fundraiser. I won't lie, I was terrified. I have never held a yard sale, I've never been to a bake sale, and I've never actively participated in a fundraiser. I was completely new to this and I was scared to death that my ingorance would hurt, not help. Two weeks before the date of the fundraiser the ladies and I were running around like chickens with their heads cut off! I felt like my life was spinning out of control, after all, I'd never done anything like this before! Was it supposed to be this crazy?!?!?

We spent hours and hours...nights and nights...sorting through donated items. Our two-car-garage was FULL of bags and boxes! We used a spare bedroom as our "sorting room" and went to town each night. I was very emotional during it all. The love and support these women have for my niece was overwhelming to me. I would catch myself watching them thinking, "They are such good people. Why do they care so much? They have families and needs of their own...why are they doing this for us?!!" Even now I'm awed. I can't believe the time they put into this. I'm so grateful they extended the invitation to help. I learned so much from these women.

The night before the yard/bake sale we were seriously losing our minds! We were so excited but SO exhausted. We had been working so hard for this and the time had finally arrived. Many people showed up to help set up, and we were thrilled about it. We had truck loads (notice loads is plural!) of people dropping stuff off until about midnight. Some people from the community came by (annonymously) and dropped off donations. Needless to say, we had WAY more than we originally planned. Had people not shown up to help sort & set up we would have been in serious trouble.

And! Get this! My mom and Ashley had spent the entire day baking treats for the bake sale! I didn't realize how much cooking they'd done until I got home and saw the kitchen. WOW! They really went at it! I also found out Crystal helped Ashley finish cooking, since my mom was helping set up, until about 1:00am. I'm so thankful for family!

Around 2:00am volunteers started heading home. We were (and still are) so grateful to them for sacrificing their friday evening to help us. My wonderful husband stayed with me ALL night and helped finish the set up. I was also incredibly grateful for Auriel, Kacey, Crystal, Luke (Nic's brother), and Sam (Nic's niece) for staying up all night and helping hang up signs (yeah! We realized we hadn't hung signs around 11:00pm!!! We were too busy doing everything else!). The seven of us stayed up all night and all day saturday. Needless to say, by the end of the yard sale we all looked like crap. Trav's eyes were SO blood-shot. And all of us were feeling the weight of staying up all night..in our limbs. By 5:30am Trav and I still had plenty to sort and price, so we decided to hang up signs everywhere that said,

All clothing = $0.50

All items w/o price tags = $0.50

We were a little worried we'd lose money by doing it this way but we didn't have time to price anything else. Trav did a quick walk through and checked items that caught his eye to make sure it was priced. I'll tell you, looking back, I think we were inspired to do it that way. It saved us! We were able to focus the last hour on sorting and organizing so things were ready to go.

The yard/bake sale didn't start until 7:00 but we had people showing up at 6:30 ready to look for treasures (and we had a lot to look through!). There was one car that came into the parking lot SO FAST they literally caught air. I was thinking to myself, "Holy crap!". Two of my closest friends (and a wonderful husband to one of them) helped us until about 1:30am and came back at 6:30am to help with the sale. I was so relieved to see them at that point. My energy level was so low and I was feeling so tired I about collapsed with joy (literally) when I saw them. Thank you Alysson, Angel, and Bryan.

By 7:15 things were CRAZY. The parking lot was full of about 50 cars or more! Although we were dead tired this sight was a huge relief because we didn't hold the yard sale at the most ideal location. We were worried people wouldn't come since it was out of the way. Things didn't slow down either! At noon there were just as many people shopping as there was at 7:30. I couldn't believe it!

The bake sale was awesome too! We had people donate coookies, brownies, home-made bread, and SO MUCH MORE! We also sold snow-cones, hot dogs, drinks, and authentic (made when ordered) indian bread (like a scone). It was insane. I cried the entire day. Many former employees showed up to volunteer and help with selling, cooking, cleaning, setting up (obviously not in that order...but you get the idea)! One former employee of Ashley's named Susan showed up and cooked the indian bread all day long. Susan provided everything - AND stood in the sun all day (it was in the 90's) over a hot stove and cooked. PEOPLE ARE SO GOOD.

Another former employee, Jenny, not only helped organize the yard/bake sale (without being asked she just jumped in head first and helped!!) but she showed up with everything for snow cones and she and her kids made snow cones all day! I ate a few of them and they were sooooo good and refreshing!!

My Grandparents showed up and helped in what ever way they could. My Grandma cooked hot dogs all day and never complained. She's been so supportive and helpful since day one. Thank you Grandma.

We had another employee (Merry), a hospice nurse, who happened to inherit a house and everything it in! Insane, I know! Merry donated a majority of her inheritance, decorative items, books (70 boxes of books!!), movies, tapes, etc. A moving truck (truck and gas was donated by another employee. Thanks Anne!) had to pick up her donated items because there was so much.

All day, during the yard sale, my dad was on the phone with radio stations. The DJ's would interview him and play the interview on air through out the day. Thanks to KUBL 93.3 and all the other stations who helped support us in this cause.

My mom was inspired to go to The Daily Herald a few days before the sale and spoke with a reporter, Ace Stryker (I believe). Ace was very interested in the story of Nic, Ash, & Mercydez and interviewed them. The story ran FRONT PAGE on Friday August 22, THE DAY BEFORE THE YARD SALE! How grateful I am that my mom was inspired and followed the promptings to go to the local/county paper and share our story with a stranger. Ace did a phenomenal job with the story. He actually called me and interviewed me as well. I just cried and cried while I told him about my precious niece. I love Mercydez so much. I think Ace regretted interviewing me, at one point, because I couldn't stop talking and crying.

Needless to say, things fell into place in an miraculous way. When things were over we were all beat. Christy, the one who started the fundraiser, was so sun burned she was swollen for days. Michelle, another woman who donated a lot of time and energy organizing and working the sale, brought her children and they helped all day. One of her daughters, Kate, helped at the cash register and was so cute! I let her add up each persons expenses...it was great! All the kids wanted to help.

I could go on and on and on. I have so much more faith in people. I have so much more respect for people. I have so much more compassion for people. Thank you to all who helped in ANY way. It was a huge success. It was a modern day miracle.

God bless you all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The birthday boy!

The birthday boy chillin' at the Jack Johnson concert

Yesterday (August 18th) was my wonderful husbands birthday. I was soooo excited to spend the day with him after finding out I didn't have to cover for some co-workers until Tuesday. It was a relief for me. I wanted to go to lunch and spend some time together and thankfully we got to!

We had lunch at Goodwood Barbeque Company. It was DELICIOUS! I love their margarita's (virgin, of course!) and BBQ'ed ribs. Ummmm, Ummmm. Trav got an enormous burger...in fact it was so big he couldn't finish it, which is unheard of! No we had a good time getting covered in BBQ sauce and attempting to stay clean.

Last night we went to a Jack Johnson concert. It was a lot of fun..in a different way. It was a very laid back atmosphere. We went to the Usana Amphitheater with my brother Kacey and his wife Crystal, Nic & Ash, and some of Nic's family. It was an outdoor concert and it was a beautiful night. My favorite part of it all was when the moon began to rise. It was stunning. The moon was a yellow color and it was really big coming over the mountains. Trav and I just stood there listening to the music and watching in amazement. I can't see things like that and doubt there's a living, kind, and all loving God. It was absolutely amazing.

The rising moon...it doesn't look that big but it was huge!!

Kacey & Crystal

Nic & Ash

While at the concert we played a few games of cards, phase 10 dice, and "steam roller". Has anyone played steam roller before? My younger brother, Kacey, (who's known for being mischevious) wanted to play. What you do is everyone lies down and cuddles up together. The person on the outside of the group cuddling rolls over everyone. That's it. Funny huh? Kacey loved it...enough said. ;) There was one point when Trav was rolling over everyone and Kacey pushed up on him and literally made him fly over two people and land on me (it was a very hard landing and it hurt!). Kacey thought that was hilarious. Looking back I must admit it is kinda funny, but shortly after the hard landing I must say I was NOT laughing.

Steamroller: Crystal, Kacey, Nic, Ash, & Trav (I was taking the pic)

We didn't get home until 12:30 or 1:00 last night. Needless to say I'm a little tired and not all here. But all is well. I'm just so glad I got to spend the afternoon with the man of my dreams. He's so wonderful.

So...now it's time for me to brag a little. I'll try to keep this short because I could go on and on and on...

I love so much about my husband. He is truly a genuinely good man. He is so full of kindness. I've noticed that many people don't have the blessing of having a kind spouse. I am so grateful I've been blessed with one. Travis is always serving me. He does large things (like asks me on dates, makes dinner, listens to me, has a discussion with me - I love that-, etc) and he does small acts of service (like buying me a flower and dropping it off at work, tickeling my back, telling me I'm beautiful, opening my door, etc) and I am so grateful for all these things.

I love how Travis is interested in people. He asks questions because he truly wants to know. He doesn't have selective hearing (unless he's watching tv ;)) - when he asks, he listens. I don't know about you but I've caught myself activley participating in selective hearing and I HATE IT. It's actually really hard to LISTEN. It takes time, patience, concern, love, and an ability to focus. Travis is always practicing those things. He listens and I love it.

Travis is so fun to travel with. I'm so grateful I'm married. Sometimes people say, "don't get married when you're young! Go travel, go to school, date, make lots of friends...party!!" I'm lucky enough to say I got married young AND I've been able to do all those things you apparently have to be single to do (or so they say). Trav and I have had the opportunity to do so much together and we LOVE it. We have such a good time. He always has a plan and it makes it so fun and interesting.

Travis is so fun to be around. I seriously wonder if some of my family members enjoy being with him more than me! I don't say that in a self-pitying way. I am happy and relieved they feel that way. My family is very important to me and it would be so hard if my family didn't get along with Trav. Thankfully Travis is one of the easiest guys to get along with! My brothers often ask, when I go over to their house/my parents house, "Where's Trav?" before they even say hi to me. It's funny...and I'm so grateful Trav is so laid back and accepting.

Travis is spiritually amazing. He has a testimony of our church that's so strong and influential - and he doesn't even realize it. I am so grateful he loves the gospel. I am so grateful he, not only loves it, but BELIEVES and LIVES it. You know that quote, "Actions speak louder than words"? Well, that's Trav to a "t". His actions speak louder than words...and he only speaks of good, honest, true things.

Travis is such a great support system for me. He has made me feel beautiful - inside and out - on many occasions when I've felt anything but beautiful. As I mentioned before, his actions speak of good things, well he has a way with hugs. He loves to give hugs and their the REAL hugs. Not the hugs where you barely touch while lightly patting the others back. It's the real deal. When he's done hugging you, you feel loved. He does that to me all the time.

Travis is a very hard worker. He has learned how to work (thanks Dad and Mom) and doesn't take a dollar for granted. He's frugal. He's smart with his money. But he's not overly stingey with it either. I have learned a lot just by watching him. A penny can go a long ways if you allow it to. How grateful I am for his example.

...ah....I could go on and on. I don't mean to sit here and rub in why my spouse is better than yours...it's just so easy! ;) But I will make myself stop (however, if any of you are interesting in learning more about my spouse and why he's better than yours let me know. I'm willing and glad to share!)

No, in all seriousness, I am grateful for my husband. Many times I am humbled when I think of how fortunate I am to be with a man who respects his parents, respects his siblings, who respects women in general (he's a GENTLEMAN through and through!), who honors his beliefs and isn't afraid to stand, when necessary, to prove his beliefs, who is so influential in a silently loud way....ahhhh. Why am I so lucky? Why am I so blessed? I don't know. I'm just eternally grateful I am.

I love you Travis William!

Push play...this is cute in a weird way. ;)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday, August 17th

So, today was interesting. Trav and I had every intention in the world to take the kids to church. We bathed them last night after getting home from the water park, Trav shaved and showered...everything and everyone was ready to go. We just didn't realize how tired we were.

The kids were up by about 8:00, Trav was up around 9:00, and I wasn't up until 10:00. I COULD NOT GET OUT OF BED! About an hour and half later Trav and Grayson laid down to take a nap while Braxton, Marin, and I played games of yahtzee. It was a quiet day. We were all pooped. The combination of extreme heat and water just wiped us out.

Grayson, Marin, & Braxton in front of the Provo Temple
Since we didn't make it to church, Trav and I thought it'd be nice to take the kids and walk around the temple. We fed everyone lunch, bathed Grayson again (he had a little accident while napping), and packed up their toys/cloths and we were out the door. On the way to the temple Trav and I were talking about how the temple is Heavenly Father and Jesus' house and that we needed to be reverent. Nic, Ash, & Mercydez came with us.

When we got there things went down hill quick. Poor Braxton is sensitive to the heat and we didn't think about how that would effect him. He struggled. He started going after Grayson and eventually ran him over. Grayson was crying and screaming, Braxton was yelling "SHUT UP!", and Marin was being the older sister and getting after Braxton. Trav was trying to calm Braxton down, I was trying to comfort Grayson, and Nic and Ash were trying to distract Marin. OH MY HECK! It was hilarious (I can say that now). And to make things better...there were seriously a good hundred or two missionaries around the temple taking pictures and such. When this whole commotion took place they, of course, turned and looked. Ohhhh....

We got back to the car as quickly as we could and left. Poor Braxton. We didn't realize the heat would effect him that way. We now know...

Anyway we got them home without any further problems.

Tonight we had family dinner at my parents house. We're celebrating two things. One - Travis' birthday is tomorrow and two, this is Kades (my brother) last weekend here. He is moving to Idaho for the next year and a half for work purposes. We are sooooooo sad to have him go because we all live so close to each other. He is the first to move away. It's an exciting change for him but we're all sad to see him go. Megan, his wife, is planning on staying here in Utah to work until he's done in Idaho. It's a big change for my family (Tim...Chris...don't get any ideas ;)). I've decided I'm going to treat this like a missionary situation. I'm going to write him, send him care packages, etc. I'm determind to make this a good thing - not a devastating thing.

Anyways, since it's Kades last weekend here we had a good-bye-dinner for him. Megans side of the family came and had dinner with the Gourley side. One of Megans sisters, Hannah, married a guy named Corey. He's a character! He has many "talents" as Braxton would say. We were able to record one of the many. Take a look (and turn your volume up)! It's hilarious!

Saturday, August 16th

We took the kids to Seven Peaks today. I wasn't able to get any pictures because I don't have a water proof camera and I didn't want to risk ruining it with the extreme heat or having it stolen. Pictures or no pictures - we had a blast! My mom, Kolton, & Auriel came with us and I'm glad they did! Braxton just loved that my mom was there. Braxton kept running up to my mom saying, "LeAnnnnnnnn" and would hug her. If he wasn't next to his "Brother Travis" he was with my mom. We still haven't figured out why he has targeted her with affection but my mom is just flattered.

We played in the wave pool, the lazy river, went down some slides...relaxed a little. It was a laid back day we were all in need of. I think we were at the water park for a good 4 or 5 hours. By the end of the day we were pooped. Braxton & Grayson fell asleep before we ate dinner (that NEVER happens!) and Marin was out shortly after.

It was a good day :)

Friday, August 15th

Happy birthday Alicia! Travis' sister, Alicia, is celebrating her birthday today. As is tradition, for me anyway, I would like to brag about my awesome family members.

Alicia is incredible. I refer to her as super woman because she REALLY is. She can do about 7 different things at the same time. It's insane! She can drive, make a phone call, keep the kids happy in the back of the car, plan a birthday party/family gathering, and smile all at the same time (I think smiling is the most important)!!! Seriously, she's so incredible.

Alicia is a fabulous mother. Her kids will NEVER question if they are loved. She is so good at verbally and physically communicating her love and appreciation to her children. She is always throwing parties for Marin (her party animal), hosting the entire neighborhood kids every night (I think I heard they have anywhere from 25 - 30 kids playing in their back yard on a regular basis), she's a member of the PTA at Marins' school and actively participating at Braxton's school (The Pingree School of Autism) on a weekly basis. She just had a cute li'l baby boy, Keegan, on July 24th and is still able to keep up with the other three! And I think it's so wonderful that her children love to be home. It seems that children don't enjoy being home anymore but her children love to be home. By the time we've had the kids for a two days Grayson is asking when he can go home. I think that's wonderful! They love to be home because home is safe, fun, happy, and secure. It's my opinion that the mother (essentially) sets the atmosphere of the home, in most cases.

Alicia is a thoughful sister. I can say this because I am married to her adorable brother. Alicia calls Travis every other day or so to see how things are going with us. She is SOOOOO thoughtful. I really admire the fact that she takes the time to make a call despite how busy her life is. Another thing I am so appreciative for is her sixth sense. With everything that has gone on with Mercydez, Alicia has been there. There have been many times when she has called me and just BAWLED with me over the phone...after reading the latest "update". She just knows when to call and what to say. She has gifted Mercydez with some of the cutest outfits EVER! She cares so much! Alicia is beautiful inside and out. Really, the bar has been raised as I watch and try to learn from women I'm close to. Alicia is by far above and beyond, she always goes the extra mile. She's a lot like her mom. They never settle for mediocre. For anything! It's always an experience when with Alicia and/or her mom.

I love watching Cam and Alicia work together as parents. They love their children (I know I've said that way too many times but it's because it's TRUE)!

Alicia, I hope you had a wonderful birthday. You are so wonderful and we love you so much. I love and value our relationship. You are so good to me. So kind. You set a great example.


So, Trav and I picked up Marin, Braxton & Grayson for the weekend tonight! We have been planning on having the kids and taking them back to Seven Peaks Water Park for a month or two. I'm sure you can imagine their excitement! Braxton called "Brother Travis" around 7:15 this morning to see when we were going to pick them up. He called a little later that morning to follow up. :) They were full of excitement!

I'm sure we have many adventures a head of us.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

My special friend is....

I have a very special friend who had a birthday today. She is one in a million. I know that sounds cliche' but it's true. She really is one in a million. She is so kind. She is willing to accept people for who they are and excited to serve and love them. She is patient. She is friendly. She will sacrifice her wants so those she loves can have "more". She is interested in people...really interested. She asks questions because she truly wants to know what's going on with "you". She is dedicated to choosing the right. I love that about her. Even if she stands alone, she still stands. She is rooted and isn't ashamed of it, but she's not overly proud or self-righteous about it either.

My special friend has cried many, many times with me, whether it be face to face or on the phone. She cries. My special friend has a way of looking at life that brings out the best in people, in situations, in predicaments. She's so willing to give people the benefit of doubt. My special friend is full of knowledge and light. Her eyes glow with happiness and truth.

My special friend cares so much about others. My special friend has lived a good life...had some hard times and some fun times. She has a wonderful family. My special friend loves everyone. My special friend is one who has a deep love for children and what they have to offer the world and people individually.

My special friend is someone who has changed my life. She has influenced me to be a better person. To accept people, even with different values, standards, beliefs, ideas, and lifestyles, for who they are. She has taught me that discipline, when done correctly, can be one of the greatest acts of love & service. She has taught me there is more to life than just "me". This world is here for our learning, for our developing, for our enjoyment. This world is a gift from God. Our lives are gifts. Our families are gifts. Our knowledge is a gift. Our experiences, though they be hard, are gifts.

My special friend is my Grandmother. I am so happy to say...and to say honestly...that my Grandmother is one of my best friends. I love her so much. I treasure her. She is absolutely beautiful.

(Happy birthday to my beautiful, special Grandmother!)

Here are a few pictures from her birthday party this past weekend:

Three siblings: My Great-Uncle Ike (the oldest), Great-Uncle Verl (the youngest), and my beautiful Grandmother

My Grandmother is so kind! She let her great-grandchildren help her open her gifts because she knew it would bring them joy.

After putting on a wonderful (musical) play/skit for Grandmother and helping her open presents the children swarmed her with hugs and kisses.

Grandmother with her great-grand daughter, Kimber.

Grandmother with her great grand son, Brendon. These two have a special relationship. Brendon is so kind and loving towards her. It's wonderful to observe.

After the skit my dad, her son, got up and said some kind words to honor her. He ended by telling her, "...a quality individual who, not only myself, but anyone in this room can go to and seek advise from. I want you to know that there isn't anyone in this room that doesn't love you, starting with me. So, happy birthday. I love you." Afterwords, my Aunt Carol came running in and got us all singing to our beloved birthday girl. (sorry about the video taping! I'm NOT pro, as you'll quickly learn! I was trying to get a shot of everyone there and ended up making myself motion sick. But you get the idea!)

There should be a triangle somewhere on the sqare below for you to click on. This is a video recording ;)

It's so obvious my Grandmother is loved by her siblings, children (my dad and Aunt Carol), her grand children, her great grand children, and so many others who attended the party. My Aunt Carol spent hours and hours preparing and it paid off. It was a wonderful night of celebration.

I love you Grandmother. Happy birthday!