Monday, July 16, 2018

My thoughts from a bird poop covered bench in Holland Park

I've come out of my blogging hiatus to share some things that have been on my mind. I'm not sure why I'm feeling like I should share this, but I'm hoping it benefits someone who needs to hear it. I've felt the need to blog about my experience here, but if I am being real, I've been lazy and haven't wanted to take the time to do it. I think the timing, though, is perfect, because I only have about a week left in London, so I've been reflecting a lot on my time here, and how I got to where I am. God. Is. So. Good. Wow. 

I was accepted to go on a study abroad to London for the fall of my junior year at BYU. As I was preparing to go, I felt sick about it. I ended up deciding not to go. I was really upset, because I felt drawn to London but knew that the study abroad wasn't right. Fast forward 6 years, and I decided to go visit my angel friend Hannah Kroes in London. At first I was going to go in August, and then it ended up working out to go in October. The timing of that trip could not have been more perfect for so many reasons. I had the most incredible time. While I was here, I felt like I lived here. I felt like I was supposed to be here, and it was even pointed out to me that it seemed like I belonged here. I was a little frustrated because in that moment, it didn't seem like there was any way for me to come back, but I felt so drawn here. When I got back to Utah I was in a funk and felt stuck. Well, two weeks after I got back, I was offered the opportunity to travel here and stay for six months. 

I had a little freak out and wasn't sure if it was the right decision for me. It almost seemed too good to be true. I kept going back and forth about it. I decided I was going to move forward as if I was going and took the matter to the temple. Catherine and I wanted to go to the temple, but weren't sure which one we should go to. We made a decision then headed to the temple. As I was sitting outside the sealing office of the Provo temple with Catherine, my cousin Adam and his wife Emily walked down the stairs in front of us. Adam and I have always had a special friendship, and I knew I was supposed to be in that exact temple at that time. It hit me so hard in that moment that I was going to London. Then my aunt, uncle and my grandma came down the stairs. I told my grandma how I thought I was going to London and my brief conversation with her confirmed it. I'm learning over and over again how important God's timing is. 

About a month later, I made my way to London and only freaked out when I was on the plane and was like "what am I doing???" I had never been away from my family more than a month and always had friends around me. It did help that I knew people already from when I visited in the fall, but for the most part I was heading to a place where I didn't have much of a support system. 

I arrived where I'd be living for the next six months, and instantly everything I was nervous about went away. I immediately felt comfortable where I was staying and had an instant connection with the family friends I was moving in with. I am so grateful for them and the relationships I've built with them. I have been blessed beyond measure by Heavenly Father with the friendships I've made here. 

He is so aware of all of us. I've learned that here more than ever. It's funny, I used to (meaning like a few months ago lol) feel so stressed out about my future, and how I still didn't know what exactly I want to do with my life. It was a big insecurity of mine, and I HATED talking to people about it. Going on dates was the worst, because I was always embarrassed to tell guys that I had graduated from BYU, but I was nannying. Now, however, I am so thankful for that path and can see why I haven't quite reached my career goals yet. 

About a month ago I was able to chat with my bishop here. I had been wanting to meet with him for months but always ended up canceling my appointments, because I felt silly. Again timing is EVERYTHING. In our meeting I was able to discuss with him things I wanted out of life and a career, and he offered suggestions to me that I hadn't considered or even thought possible for me. Meeting with him gave me a lot of confidence in the direction I'm moving toward. 

In the last few months I have felt like there is something very specific that I am called to do and I KNOW I will figure it out in the Lord's timing. There are several options I'm exploring, but I know that when it comes down to having to make a decision, I'll know what to do. I just think it's so cool that what used to be my greatest insecurity has become a tool for my own personal growth. Though I don't know where I'm going or what I'll be working toward specifically, I have learned to rely on the Lord and trust in His plan for me when I can barely see one step ahead. My faith has exploded the last little bit, and I know it's because I've let go of my own will and have started to truly trust in God's plan for me. 

I feel like I'm picking up little pieces of information along the way, and as I've continued to go along, it has all started to make sense. If I had figured out what I was doing even a year ago, I wouldn't have moved to London. I wouldn't have had the chance to grow in the ways that I have here. I wouldn't have met the people here who have strengthened me. I was in a spiritual funk for a while. I had doubts and didn't fully trust in God. There were times where I was pleading with the Lord for direction and didn't feel like He was listening.

I wanted to get out of the funk I was in but wasn't really sure how to. Every Christmas my mom gives us a meaningful gift and gives us a little devotional to explain it. This last Christmas she gave us each a journal and issued a challenge to us. Each day for a month we were to write down a question we had. Then we were to say a prayer thanking heavenly father for the scriptures and to tell Him our question that day. Then we were to read until we got an answer. When we first were issued this challenge, I wasn't in a place spiritually where I wanted to do it. I was going to the temple and doing other "good" things, but my testimony of scripture study wasn't great. I would maybe read a couple verses a day, and I got to a point where I didn't even think to read my scriptures some days. 

It wasn't until I was in London for a while, that I felt ready to seek change and to try the challenge. I decided to start at the beginning of the month of June. On the first day, one of the impressions I got was to seek out answers to the things I have a hard time with and to be ok with not knowing the answers to everything. A lot of my answers for the first few days of journal keeping involved strengthening my faith and trying to overcome my doubt. I was reading back on my journal the other day, and I was amazed. I feel like I am in a completely different place now, compared to where I was when I first started. The doubts that I had when I started the challenge have since completely gone away. I didn't get any new answers to them, but I have gained a new perspective and have increased my faith in God's will. 

I've had some experiences here that have increased my desire to be aware of other people and to reach out to them in kindness. There have been a few people here who haven't been the nicest to me. At times I've felt really brought down by the way that they talk about other people and from the way they interact with me.  Thankfully, I'm at a place where it hasn't affected my confidence, but it made me think of other people who may be feeling hurt by these people or by others. It built within me a desire to know who I could help and who needed my friendship specifically. In those moments, it turned out to be people, who in return, have blessed me and become dear friends to me.  Some of these friendships have resulted from promptings I've received that have pushed me out of my comfort zone. Somehow my introverted self has become comfortable starting up conversations with people. These have turned out to be completely inspired experiences. The Spirit works in the coolest ways, because I know that the thoughts to talk to them and be outgoing weren't from me. You guys, God is the best. He can make our weaknesses our strengths. 

I get giddy thinking about how God has blessed me over the last six months. I love that no matter where we are at, or what we are going through, if we turn to God he will help us adapt. We can do hard things!  

Emilee shared this poem with me today: 

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, 
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go
we have begun our real journey. 
The mind that is not baffled is not employed. 
The impeded stream is the one that sings. 
-Wendell Berry

I don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing, but God does. He loves me. He loves you. He loves my cranky neighbor who yells at the construction workers on my street every day. God is good, and I'm so thankful for the blessings he's poured on me. Seriously I feel like I've been punched in the face with blessings. 

That was a bunch of word vomit, but I feel really passionate about all of this, and that I was supposed to share it here. I just want everyone to know that God is waiting for us to reach out to Him. As we do that, He will direct us. K I will shut up now byeeee 

Friday, May 19, 2017

click bait

I don't know when I'll stop laughing at pictures from my family about Vinny's color blindness

Elysse is the best and planned a Galentine's dinner in Salt Lake. Her brother's limo took us up to City Creek where we had dinner and sang and danced the night away, driving around the city. 

Sunday dinner Celine sing along

 Max was really sad (like crying to me on the phone sad) when his gecko died a few years ago, so I did a little instagram post in Gus's honor. I was scrolling through my instagram and was reading the comments on this post and couldn't contain myself. Dayna's still has me belly laughing.
 Vinny's birthday party at Funtopia

 the assistant at Taytem's scientist birthday party

 once a year Jo is a cougar fan ;)

bb girl

 Introducing Taytem to the magic of my childhood for her birthday

 My cousin Chloe got married... but before we get into that, we need to talk about the shower we threw for her. This was by far the most fun I've had setting up for a shower. I am OBSESSED with how it turned out.

messed around with calligraphy

 Hangin with the Davies ladies

 Brig cheering on Taytem at her dance competition

 Max turned 16 so I wrote him a book called How to Not Suck at Dating. He is still learning how to interact with girls.

 back yard exploring

Sawyer also turned 16 WHAT. I don't know how to give presents to teenage boys, so I went with food. 

Birthdays all around! For Lauren's birthday we got dinner, got our nails done and watched Ocean's 11 in the Stewart's theater room. Shout out to Andrew for bringing us each an apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory because he is SO NICE. Don't remember what was happening here...

 happiest kid

 Grace is so weird. Can't wait for her to be here this summer.

Friends with eyelash extensions shouldn't be allowed in the group picture.

 Jessi and I (being taller girls) have this ongoing thing where we can't figure out if guys are cute or just tall. It's shocking how many short guys are in Provo. At institute we would look around and try to assess the height/cuteness situation of the guys there. She tagged me in this on facebook one day lolol...
 cheering on Jojo in the rain at her track meet

birthday date with Mr. Frank

 I have a problem

Rosie's blessing day

 girl time

If I look and dress like a mom now does that mean I'll look like a hot single girl when I have kids?

 cabin conference weekend

No, we didn't go sledding on the ski run...

 Max got the coolest videos on his drone...and then I made him take pictures of me.

baby Heisenberg 2.0

 Ran into Justin at dinner and ended up running him around Provo. He's the only person I'm ok with giving me a hard time about dating. Take note gramma. 

 the first of 4 Mags cousin weddings this year

I knew that I danced like a loser, but now it's documented. Also, Jojo's face


Elizabeth's bachelorette

pretending to be a Jazz fan so I could hang out with Britt

Found my favorite picture of Max and Moe while helping mom clean the cabin

 Who knew this was going to happen? So glad it did

 Rose being bashful at Emily's bridal shower

 annual mother daughter luncheon

 GUESS WHO IS BACK FROM HER MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 best factime call of my life!

I made a video for Emilee with footage of some of her favorite people lipsyncing and dancing to I Want You Back by Jackson 5. I wish I could have used all of the footage because there was some goooooood stuff sent my way. Ultimate winner was Brooke who filmed her part while IN LABOR! This was our facetime call when she watched it for the first time.

Adam's wedding with Jaynie

 We own this place...No we don't. Stop asking.

Vinny is slowly warming up to the dance floor. 

 Jo pretends like it's no big thing when I do her makeup, but then she insists on taking 30 selfies...

 The happy couple. Skip ahead if you don't want to hear me get all sentimental. Adam, in addition to being a great cousin, has always been a dear friend to me. We've had a special bond from a young age. I have a vivid memory of us when we were younger sitting on the swing at the cabin talking for who knows how long about what matters to us. He has been there for me in some of my hardest times (included is the time he took me to ice cream after I got dumped lol), and I feel so lucky that I get to have him as a cousin. A couple of years ago we lived across the street from each other, and I loved going over there to watch Parks and Rec and for rides on his scooter. We used to sing Wonderwall (not really sure how that started) and I completely forgot about it. On his wedding day, before going to the temple, it played when I asked my parent's Alexa to shuffle 90's music. THEN on the car ride home from his reception it played on the radio in my dad's truck. Made my heart so happy. Congratulations guys!

my best friends

Jo STILL HAS this little ghost she made at activity days. I did a whole photo shoot with it. If I wasn't lazy I'd link the previous post I did about it. This is the only picture I have of my mom and I redecorating Josie's room for her birthday. It looks cute. If I decide to be less lazy I'll post a picture on here later. 

 it looks like they are fighting but really Brig is just messing around in between hitters at his game.

Mini condo row reunion at Brother Cardullo's. I have talked about this before, but it's my blog, so I can do what I want. I was supposed to go on a study abroad in the fall of my junior year at BYU. A few months before I was supposed to leave, I felt so strongly that I wasn't supposed to go. At first I thought I was just nervous, but eventually I came to realize that it was definitely not where I was supposed to be. I was sad and even mad that I wasn't getting the opportunity to live in London. Anyway long story short I ended up moving to Condo Row. I wish that everyone could have had the experience that I had living there. It was the best singles ward I have been in. The people there have changed my life for the better. I know without a doubt that I was supposed to stay home from my study abroad, so that I could be in this ward and meet the people that I came in contact with in my three years at the row. I feel so blessed that I was able to have that experience and GUESS WHAT. I'm going to London this summer, so it all worked out.

 One of my favorite days with one of my favorite kids.
 Brig is quite the artist. Looks just like me tbh

double park days

not only is he an artist, he's an incredible photographer who gets all the flattering angles. 

Baby girl is all grown up. Sweet 16 sushi

Found out our hot tub has been open all winter (lol your bad pool guy) so Elysse and I hit it up after Jo's birthday dinner. We had the best talk, and I realized again how lucky I am to have my people. 

I hate running, so instead I have been going on long walks. Here's one from my walk on Monday

Happy Extras:
-Jayne (with the most serious face you can imagine): you know what the worst part of being in a play is for a girl? having to kiss. She leaned in and whispered that to me while we were at Mary Poppins at BYU.
-Sawyer on multiple occasions telling me to drive safely as I leave work.
-WITHOUT PROMPTING asking Hans who is hilarious to have him say that I am.
-Limon dance company performance at BYU with Elizabeth
-Coming home to my roommates watching the Justin Timberlake concert on Netflix.
-Dad always asking Alexa to play Five for Fighting and us making fun of him for it.
-Brig telling his mom "no mom I'm Kate's valentine" and telling her she can be his dad's valentine. He also gave me flowers (heart emoji x10)
-Getting away with saying pissed in front of mom because she was also mad.
-Brig asking "did you guys kiss or something?" when he was asking me about dating.
-Finally getting on the big screen at the BYU basketball game, but finding out after, because I ignored Brooke tapping my arm, because I was trying to be polite and not cut off my other conversation. FORGET POLITENESS.
-Josie pretending to be a huge BYU basketball fan at the game and calling Yoeli Childs Yogi Childs
 -Brig trying to explain the rules of the game he was playing at the McDonald's play place to a baby.
-Getting blank stares from Josephine while mom and are dancing around the kitchen to Cats.
-Visiting Kaile in Salt Lake when she was here for girls weekend with her sisters and mom.
-Ashley I talking about loving Clay Aiken and defending his sexuality as a young preteen, as I similarly did.
-Jimmy singing the beginning of the chorus of All Night Long from the other end of the table at Sunday dinner and then after a brief pause me singing all niiiiight
-driving with dad up to Salt Lake to visit his friend about the rocks he got from Namibia.
-When Andy Gibb was on the radio, and I asked my dad if he was a Bee Gee, to which he said "he was the brother not in the band." I followed that with "Oh so like Aaron Carter" 
-Broadway show tune sing alongs in my parent's kitchen while helping with Sunday dinner