The cutest boy, I ever saw, was sippen ciderrrrr….

 

Nick aside, these girls are my everything! I find it funny that such a HUUUUGE part of my life is only documented when we’re dirty, sleep-deprived and camping…but I have to say, after a year+ of loving these girls, this last week in the mountains is one I will never forget. I can’t really put into words what these girls mean to me. They have saved me many times this year and I am forever grateful for our weekly Wednesday nights and earrrrly Sunday mornings we spend together. There has been so much healing and growth and it’s just the beginning.

What I love most about girls camp is the 24/7 of pure bonding that happens. We all progressively get dirtier, smellier, and less inhibited as the week goes on and it totally rocks! I love it!

During a few of my scripture study sessions, I reviewed the last supper in John, chapter 17. This chapter is one that I hold very dear to my heart as this is one of the last times the Savior is able to love and prepare his apostles before his crucification. I cannot even imagine the heaviness and confusion that some of the apostles may be feeling at this point, as no one can really comprehend what is about to happen. These men have already sacrificed so much and devoted their lives to the Savior, but little do they know the impact this week will have on them. (*ALL of them will eventually give up their life for the sake of the Savior.) Through this dinner, the Savior takes them away from the world and buoys them up, giving them hope and comfort. The last thing he does is pray for the apostles to be with Heavenly Father, then he goes to perform the act that will allow them to do so. Everything about this chapter and the intercessory prayer is loving, empowering and selfless.

Often times, when I feel alone or discouraged, I’ll read this chapter and pretend I’m also in this room with the apostles, listening to the Savior’s sermon. There is so much unity and strength when we tap into the powers of God and His loving Son.  I felt a few times that this week in the mountains was to a very small degree “our own last supper” where we (leaders + girls) were able to bond; share our fears; give encouragement; ask hard questions; look to the truths we do know (whatever they may be); and most importantly, love each other. It’s all about love and inclusion.

One of my favorite parts of the week was the second to last night,

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TWO YEARS

Here’s a little story I wrote to Nick for our two-year anniversary. We spent the whole day in the airport catching our connecting flights back home from Alaska and didn’t have time to celebrate. I’ve tried to think of a way to explain what these last two years have been like for us, or for me, so instead I made up a silly little story. 🙂 It’s been a hard road with lots of changes and big decisions that neither of us ever planned to make. At the same time, I can’t remember my life before Nick. It’s like he’s always been a part of my soul. I love him. I honestly can’t imagine trying to exist without him…it all seems so strange. I’m sorry these thoughts are so scattered, but that’s what marriage is sometimes:)

Happy two years, Nick!

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On the morning of July 18th, I stepped onto this old, rickety sailboat. The wood was dark and aged. The sail had seen better days. But the boat, the boat was well-loved and oh so inviting. You assured me the dents and scratches had been looked at and I could see your quick handyman skills had mended the knotted lines to set sail. I took one last glance at the beautiful and comfortable shore. The sand was covered in footprints from the day before. I squished the cold, fine grains between my toes. Oh how I love the sand. The waves gently crawling up the shoreline meeting the stillness of the morning air.  Was I sure I wanted to give it up? Your hand reached out to me, breaking me from my train of thought. Your eyes glistening, eager to set sail. You looked toward the horizon and back at me, your smile getting wider with every passing second. I took one last look at the beautiful shoreline and stepped into the boat.

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Filming in Ketchikan, Alaska

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A little backstory: Alaska has a special place in my family’s heart. My grandparents have created this tradition of going every year or two to stay on Grant Island — a remote island with little reception and a whole lot of family bonding time and fishing, of course:) Last year, I brought all my camera gear with me to try and capture the beauty of Alaska along with some familiar faces. Long story short, I edited the footage and posted it to my FB page for the purpose of showing my family. It only took a matter of hours before dozens of strangers were sharing it to their FB pages. I was shocked. Silverking has a special place in many, many hearts. And unbeknownst to me, Silverking hadn’t really had any video footage documenting what this remote island has to offer. So for the first time, avid/hobbyist fishermen/women were able to share with their loved ones this beautiful place they call home.

It wasn’t long before

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MORE LOVE, LESS HATE

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I am at a loss for words, but feel I need to repost this beautiful, much-needed call for love from a mother (and dear friend) who lost her son to suicide yesterday. I’ve spent some quality time with Alyson (his mother) this year on our African adventures abroad and at home. During this time, I was able to catch a glimpse of what life is like for a family rallying around members of the LGBTQ community who feel shamed, abandoned, and forsaken. It’s often a lonely, uphill battle. Some of the stories regarding the way her son, her family and others have been treated makes me sad and confused. It breaks my heart.

It shouldn’t be hard to love and befriend others, differences aside, but somehow it is…and I, I don’t understand. All I know is that we are all here on this earth, learning and growing together.  If only we spent more time looking for reasons and wayyyys to love each other and spent less of it pointing out differences, there wouldn’t be any room left for judgement and harm (*seriously, who’s got time for that anyway!?!)

So, in honor of this loving, service-oriented family; this selfless, grieving mother; and this fun, thoughtful 17-year-old boy who left us much too soon ‪#‎ichooselove‬

HYDRO-FEST 2016

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Welcome to the wild world of HydroFlight. Nick and I entered this community around the time we married and it’s been quite a journey. Though small in size, it continues to grow by the month. You’ll often find them in form of “flight centers” who charge for a 30-minute ride to tourists or adrenaline junkies. The rest of them are full/part-time flyers living in remote areas around the world dedicating their time to becoming the best in a new sport. It’s amazing. They spend all day, errreday flying and perfecting the craft. Many are sponsored athletes who do demos and are featured in major theme park shows. They are pretty spectacular.

So maybe a watered-down version of our story might be helpful in explaining just how monumental this weekend was in the large scheme of things:

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A WEEKEND THAT MEANT SOMETHING

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GUYS!! I’m OBSESSED with my family crew. These people (missing Sister J) are my whole world. So naturally, we made plans to kick-off the Memorial Weekend with a few nights up in Park City — STAYCATION! **I’m a huge believer in staycations. No need to blow your budget, but still able to get out and explore.

The one (AND only!) item on our agenda was to enjoy the sunshine and fresh mountain air. It didn’t take long before

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That one night on the beach

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Two years ago Nick kidnapped me from work to go sailing into the California sunset…also, he proposed. Surprise!! Though, looking back, all I can think about is the little pep talk Nick gave me on the beach between the time he proposed and the long overdue “ring pic” my family, at home, was anxiously waiting to see.

I was scared out of my mind. We sat on the beach in the dark (BC we got a flat tire which delayed the whole proposal part of the trip) excited, hugging, crying. Marriage is such a HUGE, sacred, lifelong commitment and it terrified me. As soon as he put the ring on my finger, the fear and insecurity set in, and I found every reason to prolong the process. We were the only ones on the beach (need I remind you, it was pitch black) making the biggest decision of our lives. Time stopped and there was nothing to prove. Nick held my hands very firmly (for fear I’d run away, I’m sure) and dedicated himself to me that night to never give up on me…on us. He was confident yet gentle. He made me feel safe and loved. And that was it! Up went the proposal post and wedding planning began. When days get hard or differences arise, I tend to think about that night on the beach when it was just us two crazies vowing to work hard and love fiercely. And it’s made all the difference.

Sorry for the sappy post. Here’s to Nick and that he will finally come home from boat shows one day. 🙂

HEDGIE ON THE RUN

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We had a guilty pet owner moment this last week. Lucille Ball (Lucy), our antisocial and anxiety-ridden hedgehog was due for some fresh air outside. Seeing how the sun came out to play this week, Nick built her a homemade cardboard cage to enjoy the grass near our front porch.

While editing video inside, I made sure to check on her every 15 minutes or so. During one of the 15 minute editing breaks, somehow Lucy burrowed her way under the box and made a break for the fence to the junk yard on the other side…I know! To my surprise our introverted, anything-but-adventurous hedgie decided to make things interesting 🙂 I mean,

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BEACH BUMS

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My dad surprised Rach, Finn and me with a trip to San Diego for our 25th birthday. AHH! It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend away in the sun. We spent the mornings and afternoons wandering the beach, exploring surrounding vendors and occupying the resort’s hot tub. It was perfectly relaxing in every way.

Though, above all, most of the trip consisted of coddling Finn as it was a trip of many firsts…first time wearing a swimsuit, first time in the pool, first time touching the sand, first trip away from home, etc. ***I’m very aware how completely and utterly OBSESSED we are with this little guy….but look at him:)

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AFRICA!!!

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People are so, so good.

My first impression of Ghana Make A Difference came from a lunch date with Stacey and Cory Hoffman (Directors) two weeks prior to our departure date. This filming opportunity kinda fell into BOTH of our laps last minute. I was originally planning to film abroad in Mali for a different African non-profit. Due to safety precautions, that trip was canceled last minute, and miraculously the Hoffman’s and I were connected. They told me their story of trying to adopt a set of twins in Africa which resulted in them moving to Ghana for many, many months in order to get the adoption papers/process approved to bring these children home with them. In the meantime, they saw so much disarray and hardships while in Ghana that they decided to dedicate their lives and much of their finances organizing a children’s home now known as GMAD. I know, right!?! They are the salt of the earth and so very giving. After our lunch date, I left knowing I wanted to do everything I could to showcase this wonderful organization.

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