DATE NIGHT WITH A HINT OF PODCASTS


We went up the canyon tonight for date night (loooong overdue). It was so refreshing to just be us two relaxing, chatting and learning how to longboard (well, I was). It was the perfect summer night with a hint of the crisp fall air. hmmmm.

Nick and I are knee-deep into podcasts, lately. So of course, the only thing we could talk about is our latest Invisibilia episode. (Warning, shameless podcast plug ahead.) It’s amazing how much absent minded time we have (driving, cooking, scrolling) to listen and learn something new. I’ve noticed some pretty drastic changes over the last year (since the podcast obsession started), and I’ve found myself feeling much more empathetic and socially aware of issues and demographics I had never been aware of. Not only that, but I feel our marriage has improved, as weird as that may sound. These podcasts have crept into out late-night pillow talks (say goodbye to sleep) helping us evolve as a couple, topic by topic. Learning new information, whatever format that may be, has a way of making you step outside of yourself, evaluate your current beliefs, analyze where you’d like to be and adopt new frameworks (if necessary). Nick and I are different in so many ways, but these podcasts have actually leveled the playing field a bit and come to find out, we aren’t as different as we thought:)

It’s seriously a habit worth forming. Hop in the car, turn off the radio, and push play on the latest episode. Whether it’s inspiring or even a little uncomfortable (it’s not always easy looking at a familiar subject with a new lens), I have NEVER regretted pushing play.

If you have any good ones, we’re all ears. And, of course, we’re happy to share our growing list as well.

Here’s a few of our most recent favorites:

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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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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

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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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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