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.