Thursday, September 20, 2012

Never Be the Same

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. The post where I talk about the many things I learned this summer. How efy changed me once again. It is on my mind constantly. how am I different? what did i learn? but my mind has been blank. I know that it did change me but how. I didn't realize the emotions it would stir writing it. So I sit her at my desk tucked away in the bay window of my room looking at the mountains with tears in my eyes. Pathetic, right?

working for efy has been a blessing in my life. I know that I wouldn't be the person I am without it. It has taught me so much, and introduced me to amazing role models. it has been a great three years. I had the opportunity to be a counselor, BC, and coordinator and learned unique lessons each year. Will I do efy again? I'm not sure, but as of right now I don't think so...

so here it is. here is how i will "never be the same" because of efy.

my relationship with my savior. efy came at a perfect time in my life. a time when I was low, and hurt, and heartbroken. and was exactly what I needed. learning about the atonement of Jesus Christ each week brought the needed comfort. Testify to my girls how he knew them, I learned that he knew ME. I was scared and I didn't know what I was doing, but I learned that all I had to do was turn to him. And that has changed my life.

my amazing dance moves. I can do an efy line dance with my eyes closed. and have some awesome nerdy dance skills. I will never hear the song "firework" or "wide awake" without secretly doing the dance in my head- and don't even get me started on "we like to party"

choosing faith over fear. this summer especially taught me this principle over and over and over again. in all aspects of my life. it is amazing how if you have faith nothing seems all that bad. It is all to help us learn and is for our benefit- even the hard things. so why be scared? heavenly father is a smart guy and knows what he is doing. and teaches me that over and over again.

my parenting skills. well with 3 little guys I am a pro parent. oh wait i have no kids. and therefore no parenting experience. but efy has taught me a lot about parenting. one. how much you love your kids and want everything to be perfect for them. I was amazed how quickly I loved my girls when I was a counselor, and how hard it was to see them in pain or to let them go. One week one of my girls dislocated her knee. She sat there just crying, and there was nothing I could do. I tried to comfort her, but was helpless. She went to bed and I just cried. And then realized I could never have kids because I would be a wreck anytime they were sick or hurt. love. it's an amazing thing. secondly, how to set a good example for your kids. we saw a lot of different parents come to the solutions table. it was amazing to see the similarities between them and their kids. the parents who were irrational or rude had children we struggled with. but the parent's who accepted the way things had to be and then found that silver lining had kids who had an amazing week. third. you have to let them learn things on their own and let them fail. we learned this with our amazing BCs. At the beginning James and I were extremely involved with everything, and because of that they didn't feel a sense of ownership. It was week 5 when we realized we had to step back and let them take over. we literally went into our meetings that week and said, "okay, plan tomorrow" and sat there. (don't worry we would make sure everything got covered, but it was mainly them). that week was amazing, and we saw a difference. Things changed from there- I learned that I wasn't helping them at all by doing things for them, I was preventing them from learning valuable skills.

the knowledge of my abilities. i can do hard things. whether it was a conversation I didn't want to have, waiving 15 parking tickets, or doing 9 weeks of EFY in a row- I was able to do it. i learned you just have to take it one step at a time, and keep moving. sitting there and wallowing about it doesn't solve a thing, and the problem is still there. I remember before the summer started thinking there was no way I could be an efy coordinator. I had no idea what I was doing- and 9 weeks... i would die. somehow we made it through. Life is going to happen no matter what, you can't stop time from moving forward. So you might as well jump in with both feet and try your best, and pray that Heavenly Father will make up the rest.

my future marriage. i had a nine week crash course in marriage. James Grant made for a great husband. I learned how it can be tricky to merge "two" families. You each have your way of doing things, things that you thought were standard that weren't. We learned to take what we had both experienced and then create the summer we wanted. What was important? What wasn't? I learned how to compromise, and talk through differences. I learned the importance of communication, and taking time just to have "co-corrdinator dates" aka running errands and talking about things other than EFY. It is so easy to lose your identity- and important to remember that we were real people before efy. I learned about open communication and keeping each other informed. I learned about making big decisions together, and supporting the other person even if you didn't always agree, because you were a team and needed to be unified. I learned a lot from James, and I will forever be grateful. Also watching different session directing couples. Their dating advice. marriage advice. life advice. My favorite advice might have come from the long conversations with Sister Boyle. She told me about when she was dating her now husband how whenever there was a problem he was used to running rather than working through it. Rather than seeing something he didn't like and running, she would make him stop and tell her what it was, and then humbly work on it (because many times it was something she knew she could do better). Humility. so so important. and patience, and work.

my wardrobe. I will never wear a polo again. false, but kind of true. I also have an array of beautiful, colorful, EFY polos in my closet.

my hair. I learned this summer to like my hair down and curly. I did a summer of NO HEAT. Meaning I didn't blow dry, straighten, or curly my hair for the entire summer. Week 5, I started craving getting ready and straightening my hair, it quickly passed. I was amazed at how quick I could get ready, and realized my jealousy of boys was completely validated. The reason behind my "no heat summer?" My hair grows like a snail, and I wanted it to be healthier. So Jenna cut my hair right before I left, and I did my best to prevent any damage. It was successful, and my hair finally grew a little bit longer.

my friendships. EFY has surrounded me with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I could go person my person, relationship by relationship telling about how they have changed my life. There is a bond that comes from serving with others, from constantly talking about the gospel. I have learned so much from the people I have met through EFY, and some of my closest friends have come through the opportunity to work for efy. They are such examples to me, and make me constantly strive to be better.

my future job. because of efy I want to be a seminary teacher rather than a marriage and family therapist. I learned to love the youth, and being a seminary teacher takes everything I love about efy and puts it into a career. perfection.

my love of Nauvoo. this summer I learned to love this place sooo much. it was incredible.

efy has changed my life. as cheesy as that sounds, and as cheesy as this whole post sounds. it was an amazing summer. hard, but amazing.

to get an idea of this last summer... read kjersti's blog just ignore the two provo weeks...and giving out band-aids....and a lot...

pictures to come.

Friday, September 14, 2012

a renewed love affair...

I have fallen in love again with... Pinterest.

It had been months. months- since I had opened my pinterest account and scrolled through the pins of DIY and recipes.

So there I am sitting in my PSYCH 301 class. Statistics for Psychology. The class they wouldn't let me waive because it was specific for psychology, and even though I had already taken general stats and stats for marriage and family, it was a no go. Bored as can be. (we were learning about the mean, median, and mode... i learned that in 3RD GRADE!!! 2 hours of which number is there the most of.... i was going crazy) So i pulled out my new smartphone. yes, i have a smart phone. and started looking at apps. free apps. in a spur of the moment I downloaded the pinterest app. Life changed.

One class period later. and 75,000 pins later. I had my future house planned, and enough craft ideas to last me a life time.

Now and honest moment. I have never done anything with any of the things i have pinned- they are always a "one day I will" type thing. until tonight.

I came across the idea while trying to stay awake in class. A date jar. for the night you cant think of what to do you choose something from the jar. it just so happened that a friend's wedding is tomorrow and I was sans gift. this was it.

so one quick run to hobby lobby later. i had a mason jar. paint. craft sticks. and ribbon. ALL SET.

then it was off to my night class. 2.5 hours of marriage therapyness. the only reason i dont go crazy in that class is because our teacher is literally crazy- and so funny. the time somehow goes quickly even though we dont learn very much. so I multitasked. while he repeated himself for the 13th time, i created a list of date ideas.

After class my visiting teacher's came over. having been home for only 10 minutes the whole day and being on a time crunch, they helped me paint the sticks while we talked about life and got to know each other. it was perfect.

I love crafts. truth.

here is the finished product. simple. easy. thoughtful.

the woman who i got the idea from used the different colors of popsicle sticks as different categories. (one's that cost money, that take planning, etc) I didn't want to- so it is just to make it look prettier.

Making the list of date ideas was fun. It was fun to relive dates as I wrote the idea down, or remember times sitting on the couch brainstorming with the boy I was dating a "bucket list" of dates we wanted to go on.

Here is the list I came up with.

  1. go ice skating
  2. go to the library and read your favorite children's books
  3. visit temple square
  4. watercolor the sunset
  5. invite a couple over for games
  6. invite a couple over for dessert
  7. get dressed up and go out for a "classy" dinner
  8. go for a hike/snowshoeing and carve your initials in a tree
  9. look up what is going on in the community and go
  10. go to a movie- his choice
  11. go to a movie- her choice
  12. make italian food and watch the movie "Life is Beautiful"
  13. go rock climbing
  14. go to a local arcade
  15. play catch at the park
  16. go star gazing
  17. go window shopping for things for your home
  18. build a fort and tell ghost stories
  19. feed the ducks at the pond
  20. make something for your house off pinterest
  21. go roller blading
  22. play at a park
  23. go on a picnic
  24. look through old pictures and tell stories
  25. go geo cashing
  26. go camping
  27. go to the mall and pick out outfits for each other
  28. go bowling
  29. go mini golfing
  30. make crayon art
  31. finger paint
  32. go for a bike ride
  33. watch a disney movie while coloring in a coloring book
  34. stay home and watch a movie- his choice
  35. stay home and watch a movie- her choice
  36. play hopscotch, color with sidewalk chalk, and hoola hoop
  37. visit a retirement home and talk with the residents
  38. go to the food bank and volunteer
  39. go see a show/play
  40. spend the night in the city (hotel)
  41. go to a bed and breakfast
  42. go canoeing/paddle boating
  43. visit "your" spots
  44. relive your first date
  45. do facials
  46. grab a friend and have a photo shoot
  47. go shooting
  48. plan your dream vacation
  49. go to a museum
  50. go to a concert
  51. invite people over for minute to win it games
  52. cuddle up on a couch and read a novel out loud
  53. drive up a canyon and soak in the beauty
  54. build a fire and make s'mores
  55. make cookies and deliver them to friends
  56. go to a sporting event
  57. write "your story" together
  58. look at wedding pictures and talk about the day
  59. go out to dinner on "main street" and walk around
  60. go out for ice cream
  61. make homemade ice cream
  62. put a puzzle together and drink hot chocolate
  63. create a couple bucket list
  64. go to the temple
  65. project an old western on the wall and "shoot" the bad guys with nerf guns
  66. have a nerf gun fight
  67. carve soap
  68. make sailboats with stuff around the house and race them
  69. invite friends over and have a murder mystery party
  70. find someone to serve
  71. go for a run with your cameras and photography the world
  72. make a volcano with baking soda and vinegar
  73. test the mentos and soda myth
  74. invite friends over for a murder mystery party
  75. go to a fair
  76. plan a road trip and actually go
  77. go to cascade springs (in utah)
  78. go out to dinner- her choice
  79. go out to dinner- his choice
  80. go golfing
  81. go go-carting
  82. go to the DI and get ridiculous outfits
  83. go to the dollar store. spend $5 and just play with what you got
  84. go dancing in the moonlight
Its the holiday season.
  1. carve pumpkins and roast the seeds
  2. go to a haunted house
  3. go to a corn maze
  4. write letters to santa
  5. make "thankful' turkeys
  6. write thank you notes to your parents (thanksgiving)
  7. dye eggs
  8. make a snowman
  9. go sledding/ snowboarding/ skiing
  10. cut out paper snowflakes while watching a christmas movie
If you have any ideas to add to this not comprehensive list...comment. share the knowledge.

also i have a renewed love affair for this song...

Saturday, September 8, 2012


hobble creek canyon.

nervous. the emotion that accompanied me at the beginning of this run. I had yet to break the 13.1 barrier, and while it was only a mile more I didn't know how it would turn out.

the night before we had an efy reunion at Kjersti's house in Springville. I slipped away to drive the canyon and figure out the route we would run in the morning. It seemed like a lifetime as I kept driving- it seemed like I checked the odometer every 30 seconds expecting it suddenly to jump from 5 miles to 14.

The morning came early, however, I was wide awake. I was so excited for this run, despite my nerves. I had a new pair of shoes, a new running tank top, a hydration belt full of water bottles and gu. Life was good.

We made the trek down to Springville, parked Mary's car at the library, and started up the canyon. It was dark and cold, but by the time we made it to our starting point light was starting to peak over the mountains. We got out of the car, made sure we were all set, and took off towards Mary's awaiting car. The first mile was steep, but after that it leveled out and was just a very gradual downhill. We talked about our week, life, and anything else we could think to talk about. Eventually we pulled out the iPod and blasted music while we ran. n'sync "bye bye bye" came on and for some reason it put us at a perfect pace. I felt like I could run forever.

We stopped and gu'ed every 45 minutes, and it was amazing to see the difference it made in our run. Where I felt like I was running on empty at our half, I felt perfect (well as close to perfect as you can when running 14 miles). Mary loved the Montana Huckleberry (Hammer Gel) because it reminded her of jam. I had quite a different sentiment, considering I dont often eat jam straight- but with a little bit of water before and after I got it down without a problem.

The canyon was absolutely beautiful. It was perfect being awake early, feeling the fresh air on your skin, and the smell of the trees. I didn't want the run to end, I didn't want training to end. I wished we had another month to train for the race, simply so we had a reason keep doing these long runs.  I felt like I was on top of the world.

The run was exciting, and there was always something new around each bend. Whether it was a dead animal (gross, but we saw surprising a lot), a herd of cattle we had to run through, or the scariest porta potty in the world- it kept us entertained.

We eventually made it out of the canyon, and it was amazing how instantly it became a mental battle. No longer did I have the beauty of the world around me to distract me from what I was doing. We made our way down the seemingly never-ending road. We stopped by Kjersti's, said hi, used the bathroom, and then continued on our way. WORST DECISION EVER. somehow in the three minutes we stopped our bodies learned to hate us. As we started to run again, we hurt. only 2 more miles to go. they seemed like an eternity.

we eventually made it back to her car, and nothing has ever looked so lovely. we hopped in, and made our way back up the canyon to pick up Charlie. The drive after might be my favorite part, especially in contrast with the drive at the start. Rather than the sinking feeling of "oh shoot, what are we doing, I have to run this" it was replaced with "holy hannah, we RAN this!" We made it back to the start, I jumped out, and blissful drove back down the canyon while listening to Keith Urban "wanna love sombody like you." Perfection.

Things that are good about running Hobble Creek Canyon:
  1. not a lot of traffic up Right Fork, and there is a path for part of the way
  2. not too steep
  3. it is beautiful
Things that are not so good about running Hobble Creek
  1.  there are only about 10 miles in the canyon that aren't steep and paved. If you want a longer run in the canyon you can brave the hills and dirt roads, or spend more time on city streets