What you share with the world is what it keeps of you.

Every single time I begin to write anything on this lovely little blog, I am always tempted to begin with "hi, kids." Then, it never fails that the rest of the words to the Eminem song wants to crawl out my fingers and on to the page, " you like violence? Wanna watch me stick nine inch nails through each one of my eyelids (uh huh!)"... You can thank my cousins and TRL for that lyrical reference. Normally I'd be embarrassed for the fact that late 90's rap music isn't exactly how I'd like to represent my musical preferences, but that's neither here nor there. Different strokes for different folks. 

I have so many things running through my mind that I would love to talk about. Baseball, Spotify, backsliding, Brazil, and hiking to name a few. Instead, I'm going to talk about education.


O be wise, what can I say more?

Education does not equal wisdom. Choosing to become educated, however, is a wise decision. Being one of the few things the apostles and prophets have commented on as a "good reason" for going in to debt, it seems the decision of whether or not to further ones education would be rendered as important. I chose the job I currently have based on my loose interpretation of why going to school was important. I was offered a job using my marketing degree along with the job I currently hold simultaneously. I turned down the job I dreamed of having for so long based on one determining factor. In my current position, I am more likely to further my education. 

At first, I made this decision based solely off the fact that I felt like earning my master's degree was what was expected of a person in my position. Single, mid-twenties, no prospects, nothing but time. Earning a degree just felt like the logical next step, whether my heart was in it or not.

After a few months of working in my position, I have really come to welcome the thought of furthering education. Every single day, I talk to people who are either so far in debt they will die before their student loans disappear while still not having a degree to show for it, or people who tell me they quit school because they fell in to a good job at a young age and now they are not eligible for upward movement because they haven't earned a degree.

I am not sure how or why I was so blessed as to make it through my undergraduate degree with a student loan used only to pay for my study abroad, but I know I would the world's biggest putz if I walked away from continuing my education while having the option to, once again, walk away debt free. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I have been given opportunities and doors have been opened that would have otherwise been closed if I had walked away from my education simply because I had a "good job". I talked to a student today who is nearly $40,000 in debt and has yet to earn an associates degree. She was willing to pay "almost all" of her $200 paycheck to clear a debt that would enable her to return to school and earn her degree. Those facts and numbers were enough to convince me that I need to talk every advantage of every educational opportunity I am handed, as should you.

You may be wondering why you would want to go so far in to debt for something like an education if you currently have a "good job". I don't think it's necessary to throw facts and numbers at you proving the fact the the higher the degree, the higher the yearly income, on average. I more think it's necessary for you to know how many people I talk to daily who wish they would have kept that in mind when they stopped going to school (having incurred debt already anyway) because it became expensive or life got in the way. Every one of them tells me that they wish they would have finished school earlier in life. I know you may currently feel like you don't have the time or means to earn an education. In certain cases that may be true. But investing in yourself, and your future, will never be something you regret.

Also, keep in mind that George Strait once sang the lyric, "I've never seen a hearse with a luggage rack," implying that any worldly riches we attain in this life will one day be left behind. The scriptures, on the other hand, state that, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrectionAnd if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." I like to think that includes knowledge and intelligence both through study and experience. I've yet to meet a person who was in a worse situation than they had been previously as a result of becoming more educated. I could spend two days on a soap box talking about the fact that simply choosing to read a book as opposed to playing video games or watching TV is apart of that, but I will save that rant for another time.

Because of this, I have had the burning desire to return to school as soon as I am able. In two months I will be eligible to return to school for my master's degree. I genuinely believe I would be doing a disservice and showing ingratitude to the universe if I do not take full advantage of this opportunity. I genuinely believe that you should consider furthering your education, in the case that you have the opportunity and haven't chosen to do so. Some people can be very successful, even change the world, without an education. Most of us, though, will be successful and change the world because of our education. 

Think about it. 


A small tribute.

I want to begin by stating that my thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those lost in the line of duty in Prescott today. The intention of this is not to take away from the loss they are feeling, but rather to share some of the perspective I gained during my six years as a wildland firefighter.
When I was a little girl, before I really understood how prayer worked and the way in which the Lord's hand is in everything we do, I prayed every single night that my family would be safe in the case that there was a fire while we were sleeping. I sometimes would sleep as near as I could to my little brother so I could be there to save him if we had to jump from our second story window to escape. I always knew that fire was one of my biggest fears.

Fast forward 15 or so years, and suddenly I am in S-130/190 (basically firefighter 101) learning about weather patterns and geographical features as they relate to fire behavior. I remember my childhood fear and wonder what it was exactly that lead me to the point where I would be working every day in one-on-one combat with the thing that scared me most. I thought every single day would be a battle between my courage and my fear.
As it turns out, being a wildland firefighter wasn't that at all. I learned very quickly that it was a dangerous job, but that every one I was working with had my back. There was a undefinable connection between every one I came in contact with because we were all working for the same cause, and we all wanted to go home safely. We looked out for each other. The fire world is a family where we are all brothers and sisters working to keep each other protected and out of harm's way.
I spent nights sleeping in the cab of a fire engine with these men. I spent endless days camped out on the top of a mountain with these men. I faced heartbreaking situations in the aftermath of mother nature's fury with these men. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together. We told stories, shared laughs, and worked ourselves to death together. The hardest days and nights of my life were spent with these men. The scariest situations I have ever been in were with these men. Some I spent years with, others I only knew for a brief time. Either way, we were connected. There was a bond.
Some of the men I worked with are as much friends and family to me as I'll ever see because not only were we forced to spend days on end with each other, but we worked in life threatening situations together. That is an unbreakable bond. I learned to trust even those I barely knew because, well, what choice do you have when your life is on the line? The point I am trying to make is that there really is a spirit of "no man left behind" when you are in a situation that could turn tragic in the blink of an eye. Everybody looks out for everybody. There is an unspoken trust. There is an unbreakable bond.
My point in explaining all of this is that, although I knew none of the men personally, hearing of this tragedy hits home. Those men worked with people I worked with. People I care about cared about them. They were my brothers and sister in my combat against my fear, and therefore I hurt with their loss. They are brave. Maybe they went out there every day having to conquer their fear the way that I did, because that is what you do when it is your job to protect.
More so, there are other firefighters out there who knew them, worked with them, and cared about them. There are those who didn't know them at all, but are feeling the loss of their brothers and sisters. Those firefighters are going to go back out on the fireline tomorrow and keep doing their job, knowing the danger they are in and feeling the hurt of this loss. That, my friends, is a true hero. Those who are directly affected by this tragedy and still make sacrifices in order to do their job. If more people in the world were like these service men and women, the world would be a better place.
I wish I could share every incident and every story I had to tell of what wonderful men these firefighters are. I wish I could describe the bond I have with them in words so people could understand. I wish there was a way I could make every one of them know what my time with them meant to me. How it changed me. How it made me better. How it made me stronger. I can face every fear now because of the way they helped me face that one. My heart aches and my soul cries out for them. I know I will be praying extra hard tonight.

Ps. Thank you to all of my friends and family who called and texted tonight to make sure I was safe. I appreciate you thinking of me more than you'll ever know. 

"Never, not ever again," is what you swore the last time this happened.

A few weeks ago I watched this bizarre movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I wasn't really a fan of the movie; honestly, it was weird and boring. It did, though, have a few significant points in it that turned out to be significant life lessons. There was one quote in particular that I've been thinking a lot about. At one point in the movie, Hermione (that's not her name in the movie, but being a Harry Potter geek I can't think of her as anything else) gives a speech about how horrible she's been treated. 
The response she gets cut me to the core. 
He could have said something along the lines of, "because those people are awful, all men are jerks, people suck," that sort of thing. Instead, he points out that we choose to let people like that in our lives. If we are surrounded in people who treat us like we're nothing, it's because we think we deserve to be treated the way they are treating us. We have power over being treated like dirt. We can choose to not allow people in our lives who belittle us. The answer is confidence. We have to demand respect. If we think so little of ourselves as to believe that people who lie to us, cheat on us, and walk away from us are people who "love" us, it is because we don't have the respect we need to have for ourselves. 

I have been through a lot lately. I have been lied to, cheated on, belittled, and ridiculed by people who I thought "loved" me. I've been hurt. I've spent nights laying awake wondering why I wasn't good enough. I'm the kind of person who loves with my whole heart. When I commit, I am 100% in. I would do anything for the people I love. Lately, that love has been mocked. It's been taken advantage of. My heart has been stepped on and my soul has been crushed. I don't mean to be dramatic, but I've been treated so bad it almost felt like people in my life were out to hurt me intentionally, like a sport. A game. 

I allowed myself to believe it was something that was out of my control. That the universe hated me and wanted me to be miserable no matter how hard I tried to do things right. It handed me everything I wanted and then ripped it away time and time again. I couldn't understand it. 

After hearing that quote, "we accept the love we think we deserve", I realized it wasn't the universe at all. It was me. It was me allowing people in my life who treated me like I was nothing. It was having such low self esteem that these people who so-called "loved" me treated me terribly; it was the love I thought I deserved. 

I've come to realize that I deserve better than that, we all do. I deserve to be loved genuinely, for exactly who I am. I don't have to look at the other people around me and wonder what they have that I don't. I am enough. Anyone who doesn't believe so doesn't deserve a place in my heart, and they don't in yours either. I have a lot of love to give, but I deserve that same love in return. Never again will I settle for those who treat me like I'm nothing. If we think we deserve to be treated like we're nothing, that is the type of love we will accept. At the same time, if we think we deserve the world, THAT is the type of love we will accept. I deserve the world, and so do you.

Think about it. 

Someday, I'll be a knight.

Hello friends. Another random thought from yours truly.

The other day I was watching a Knight's Tale and Heath Ledger's character said something that stuck out to me. Right when he is sitting on the horse, in his armor, about to joust for the first time, he says:

I've waited my whole life for this moment.

I got to thinking, what have I waited my whole life for? Everyone has that moment when they realize what they are about to do is what their whole life has been about. Everything, up until that point, doesn't matter at all. It is all about this moment, this minute, this second, you have waited your whole life for.

Everyone has a different moment they have been waiting for.

It could be a proposal.
Becoming a parent.
Owning your career.
[btw this picture rocks]

Everyone has a different idea of that moment, but it's just as important to every one of us. It is amazing, breathtaking, life changing. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there is no question as to what that moment is.

It is a moment I have worked toward my whole life. Every decision I have made, every chance I have taken, every opportunity I have taken advantage of has revolved around this life changing moment. No choice I have made has been without this in mind. I have missed out on things, I have said no when the world would have me say yes, I have been mocked and teased and judged for this moment. And yet I know, without a single doubt in my heart, that when that moment comes (hopefully far in the distant future) none of that will matter. I know that as I wake up that day, walk up those steps, and stare up at this place, I will say to myself...

Going to the temple to receive my endowment will be the moment I have known I was waiting my whole life for. It won't be for a mission, a marriage, or for any other reason than me, wanting to make covenants with my Heavenly Father, for myself and myself alone. What a blessing.

This is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me.

Right now I am watching 'Yes, Man!' and the part is playing when the guy is about to jump off the roof and Jim Carrey sings....... "I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend, you could cut ties with all the lies that you've been livin' in......" E-P-I-C.

The other day someone asked me the most repetitive and redundant (yes, I get that it is repetitive and redundant to say both repetitive and redundant, that's the joke) question. The infamous, "why aren't you married?" My initial reaction is usually something like, "I'm only 24 years old! I have PLENTY of time before I am tied down for eternity!" Instead of that response, I usually try my best to give a humble and honest answer to the question while still staying confident and not sounding depressed (jk). Every time someone asks, it gets me thinking about what the real reason is. I'm not going to bore you with all the reasons I have found that it's not. I was bored trying to write about them, let alone read them. The reason I am here right now is because I figured it out. The reason no person should be married until there is a solution. The thing that every person should keep in mind as they choose their "soulmate". The pot of gold at the end of the hellish (sorry for the profanity) rainbow some people refer to as dating.

Are you ready for it?

The answer: Mark Zuckerberg is already married.

...........jk. But seriously. I was waiting for Mark to call for years only to find (on the cover of People magazine of all places) that he already chose some hot, brilliant, asian lady. Wah-wah such is life.

..........jk for reals this time. The real reason for the delay of marriage is that I haven't found the guy that treats me the way I deserve to be treated. Sounds so simple right? Sorry if you are disappointed in that answer. Let me explain..

Love is black and white. There is no grey. A person either loves you, or they don't. If there is any question, there will be someone else that loves you better.

In my experience, the boys I have dated have had some great qualities, some not so great qualities, some lessons to teach me and some challenges to present me with. They also all have one thing in common: they didn't work out. Have there been times when I wanted them to? Absolutely. Have there been times when I have prayed to keep them in my life? Absolutely? Have there been times I tried everything in my power and fought with all of my might to make it work? Absolutely. And yet, they didn't. Is that because there is no hope and prayers don't get answered and I am not meant to be happy? Absolutely not. It is because I deserve better.

I may have some pathetic, movie based, fictional, over the top, out of this world idea of what love is supposed to be, but I know it is because I deserve it. Everybody deserves it. Every single person has a right to feel that, 'can't eat, can't sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, world series' kind of love. The kind of love Taylor Swift sings about. The kind of love the Notebook was made about. The kind of love Pride and Prejudice was written about. Call me crazy, call me girly, call me whatever you want. Say I'm looking for too much, say my standards are too high, say whatever you want. I know that I deserve it. I know every one does.

I know some people find it sooner than others. I know that there is a time for everything. I know that your time is different than my time. We all have lessons to learn, we all have experience to gain. We all have to be hurt so we know what it feels like to be cared about. We have to have it not work out sometimes so we can appreciate it when it does. Like a plant in a garden, we have to be pruned in order to meet our full potential. After the Lord feels we have been through enough, after we have grown and leared all we can, after we have suffered through the pain and hurt caused by ended relationships enough... then we will find it.

"That thing, that moment, when you kiss someone and everything around becomes hazy, and the only thing in focus is you and this person. You realize that that person is the only person that you're supposed to kiss for the rest of your life, and for one moment you get this amazing gift. You want to laugh and you want to cry because you feel so lucky that you found it, and so scared that that it will go away all at the same time."

Everyone deserves that. I'll be honest for a second and say I have been treated terrible in relationships. I have been lied to, cheated on, mislead, used, abandoned. I've had guys walk away and then come back looking for second chances when they realize what they've lost (not being self-absorbed, just saying it happens). I fall easy, and I've been hurt. There is damage. I think we all sometimes feel that the damage can never been fixed. That we are too far gone. FALSE. It can be fixed. And that person walking out of your life is likely to be one of your greatest blessings because there will come a time when the right person, the one who will always treat you the way you deserve to be treated, will walk in to your life. That person will fight to stay. That person will respect you. That person will watch you from the across the room because they find you that fascinating. That person will protect you. That person will make time for you. That person will not doubt. That person will want nothing more than you.

Do not settle for less than that. Do not settle for less than you deserve. The pressures of society can make you feel like you need to rush, that you need to take what you can get. But I will stand and say no. No to anyone who thinks you should settle for less than you deserve. No to anyone who says you can make it work with anyone. No to anyone who doesn't believe in fairy tales endings. Real love is a fairy tale, and I know my happy ending will one day come true.

I want someone who will look at me like this on my wedding day.
I deserve it, and so do you.

That, my friends, is that answer to the, "why are you not married" question. Trust me... when I find it, you'll know.


I do believe it's true, that there are roads left in both of our shoes.

I like to think of myself as a free spirit. Sometimes I take the long way home just because it’s the scenic route. Sometimes I drive to the lake and watch the sunset on my own just because I want to. Sometimes I recycle just because that’s what a Flagstaffian would do. That last one was a joke; I really do recycle once in a while, but not because it’s what they do in Flagstaff. I recycle more so because somewhere deep down inside of me there is a hippy trying to fight her way to the surface.

I often find myself doing impulsive things as a result of this aforementioned free spirited lifestyle, the most recent being the topic of this post (shocking, a post with actual substance rather than my usually pointless rants). I am not so self absorbed as to assume that everyone is interested in my life choices, but you are on my blog reading my posts after all. If you don’t care, you know where to find the red ‘x’ as an escape route. Anywho… sometimes when you are a free spirit you quit your job in order to find happiness, regardless of the expectations people have of you (or that you have of yourself). I’ve heard it said that expectations “can be like a fungal rot on a relationship”. That’s actually from a movie, and if you can name it I will send you a high five in the mail. Isn’t that the truth, though? When there are expectations of anyone or anything it essentially leads to sadness and disappointment. I don’t mean expectations as in standards; I mean expectations as in assumptions. Expectations of earning a certain degree, marrying at a certain age, having children at a certain time, finding a certain success… all these things only put stress on a relationship (relationship meaning family, friends, lovers, etc, etc, etc).

I know there have been times in all of our lives when we found ourselves doing things that didn’t necessarily make us happy; we did them because we were expected to. The thing is, though, that being a free spirit (a self proclaimed one) has lead me to break the bounds of these expectations time and time again. Nobody expected me to move to Italy when I was 19, but it turned out to be a wonderful learning experience and one of the best times of my life. Nobody expected me to put off graduation for a semester and take on an internship in Florida, but it was the time in my life when I truly found out who I am. Nobody expected me to be a firefighter, but it proved to be something I not only enjoy but kind of love. You see, being wild and free and bulletproof by doing what I want instead of what is expected of me has lead to the best experiences I’ve had in my short life.

So, all of that being said… as of late I have found myself pretty unhappy in the position I was in. I know that happiness is up to you and you have a choice and la la la. But whatevs… my day to day activities were just not doing it for me to say the least. You see, at this point in my life, having no family to raise, husband to support, or school to finish, my only real focus is my job. I learned quickly that although I love the company I work for and the people I work with, I am not in love with the job I do. Some may call it childish to walk away from a good and steady job because it isn’t my ‘forte’ (shout out to my Expedition buddies for using the word forte), but I call it being free spirited. I call it knowing what I want and going for it. I call it finding true success because I want to love what I do regardless of my income or my instinct to live up to people’s expectations.

Lately I have felt such a strong need to do what makes me happy. I need to do this without worrying what other people think. I need to do this without worrying what I will think of myself (obviously both of those are important to a degree, but for the sake of this post let’s say that they are solely just the negative thoughts associated with choosing a different path than you are ‘supposed’ to take). Because of this, I have chosen to leave the life I have created for myself in the past few months. I have chosen to walk away from my job, my roommate, my friends (shout out to my friends who are very patient with the non-responsive friend I’ve been as of late), everything I have built recently, to do what I know in my heart will make my happier. I want to spend some time doing the job I love for at least one more summer. I want to have bonding time with my brother before he heads out on a mission. I want to know my nephew while he is still a baby. I want to spend some time finding where my passions lay. I know these things will make me happy.

After I graduated college I was like a lost puppy. I accomplished the goal I sought for so long. Then what? I spent a year and a half trying to do what I thought I needed to, and it has lead me to an unhappy day to day settled lifestyle. I need to re-evaluate. I need to make new goals. I need to learn what I want to do with the things I have accomplished. I know that one more summer of bliss is just the ticket. It may not appear to be the most responsible choice, but since when have I done what was expected? I want to live. I want to be happy. I want to wake up every day excited for the day because I know I will be doing something I love that day.

I have no idea where my life will lead after the summer and I am telling you, that isn’t a bad problem to have. I may run away and gallivant about the world and spend all my money travelling. I may land an incredible job in my degree. I may move to Paris. I may buy a season pass to a ski resort and snowboard every single day. If I don’t find another job, I’ll figure it out. I’d rather be a happy seasonal firefighter than a miserable salaried finance advisor. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I know it’s all going to be alright. I know that in order to end up where we want to be, we have to first take that giant leap of faith. I am going to trust my instincts and do this. This is my giant leap of faith.

Now, may I ask, have you taken yours?


Ponytail Parades

"I stay up nights until stars leave the sky knowing what my dreams take away."