Thursday, August 29, 2013

history of headers

You may have already noticed this, but my blog has gone through quite a few changes.
I am developing a love for designing blogs. Mostly mine.
Through research and A LOT of trial and error, I have come a long way. My first header looked like this:
Then this:

Then a friend of mine designed this:

I kept the paint up top and gave it my own touch:
And again:

Then I finally designed an entire header all by myself:

And here is the latest:
Knowing me, it'll probably change again pretty soon.

Here are some other headers I have created for various blogs.

All of these were created using Paint, Gimp, and Word Perfect. They are my three favorite tools. Mostly because they're free and user friendly. [Not so much Gimp, but I'm learning] Oh I really, really like to take screen shots when moving from one program to another. If you have any questions, I would love to help! Or if you would like me to design anything, I would do it for free. (That's how I much I love it) My email is:



I have been wanting to write this post for a very, very long time. 
I'm not an expert by any means, but I do have a little bit of experience in making choices that go against one's belief.  I have experienced the weight that sin brings and how hopeless it can make one feel.
My hope in writing this post is that someone who needs to read it will gain hope knowing that they are not alone and that even if it takes years to make some changes, that it can happen; it takes perseverance.

To begin, I want to explain that growing up, I was kind of a "goody girl". It's not that I was naive, because my parents were very open and honest with me, but I was the girl who almost never did anything she wasn't supposed to. I didn't like disappointing anyone especially my parents and the person I prayed to every day.

Well. Sometimes you meet a very attractive person you feel connected with and you make choices you grew up saying you wouldn't make. It happens just like everyone tells you it will if you let it: gradually and by slowly becoming desensitized. It became a constant battle and I continually experienced Cognitive Dissonance, which is just a fancy way of saying that what I believed and what I was doing weren't matching up. Whenever this happens, we either have to change what we believe or we need to change our actions. 

There were times I wanted to change what I believed. It seemed a lot easier than having to admit that was I was doing was wrong and having to repent. After a lot of internal battles I decided that I wasn't going to change my belief. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! I couldn't deny it, and therefore, I had to change my actions.

Here are some things that helped me finally make the changes I needed to:

Going to church every Sunday. This was hard. Really hard.
 I didn't feel like I belonged. I felt unworthy. But I did it. And I'm so glad I did.

Meeting with the bishop as much as needed and being completely open and honest with him. If you aren't married, then I recommend meeting with a bishop in a Single's ward. They tend to be more understanding. My bishops are the reason I got married in the temple. I couldn't have done it without them. They gave me tasks that were really hard to fulfill, and sometimes I wondered if they were being too harsh, but their counsel always ended up being what I needed.

As far as literature goes, almost everyone has heard of the talk, "Of souls, Symbols, and Sacraments" by Jeffrey R. Holland. Or the book, "The Miracle of Forgiveness" by Spencer W. Kimball. 
Both of these texts are amazing and written by very inspired and knowledgeable men. But they didn't work for me. They just made me feel more horrible. I think that people who think they are immune to sinning or have the wrong attitude could benefit from reading these texts, but I needed something a little more gentle. I highly, highly recommend the following book:

Each time I would read from this book, I gained hope for the future and I didn't feel like I was a bad person.

Brad Wilcox is the man. He is seriously my hero. I once saw him at Brick Oven and stopped to tell him how helpful his book was. The next day, I came into work and he had personally written me a card and gave me one of his CDs. Yeah... he's great. 

Here are some top notch quotes from The Continuous Atonement:

“Perfection is our long-term goal, but for now our goal is progress in that direction –continuous progress that is possible only through the continuous Atonement.”

“In those anxious moments, the greatest comfort I have found is in knowing any effort is pleasing to God even if He and I both know it’s not my all or my best. ” pg. 108

 “Some people see a long checklist that must be completed before we get to heaven.  In reality, our willingness to plod along here on earth doesn’t earn us points in heaven, but helps us become heavenly.  We are not called human doings; we are human beings. Doing is only a means to being.”  pg. 112

“The Atonement must be used to escape sin and be comfortable with God rather than trying to escape God and be comfortable with sin.” pg. 145

Another thing that helped me was attending Institute. Here is one of my favorite quotes I wrote down while attending Institute:

Music is great. Sometimes I would blast Lincoln Park in my ear-buds to try and make myself feel better, but in the end, uplifting music is what helped. The following He is We song brought me to tears (in a good way) every time I listened to it: 

I love the part were she says, "Rip us apart; change us on the inside."
Repentance is not comfortable at all. It often feels like your heart is being ripped apart.
This reminds me of the scripture found in Alma 36 where Alma the younger states, "I was racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins."

I have felt similar feelings and it is one of the worst feelings. But you know what? I think those feelings are necessary to truly repent. Repentance is more than changing one's behavior. Repentance has a lot to do with one's attitude. And it starts with feelings of remorse.

The good news is that when you finally do what it takes to truly repent, it is worth it. It is worth the fight. It is worth the sacrifice. It is worth ripping your heart and changing. Why? Because they joy and peace you feel afterwards is irreplaceable. Alma continues to say:
"There could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet was my joy."

Please don't give up if you are weighed down by sin. Even if you don't love yourself, there are two people who will always love you. Our forgiving Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ love you. They love me. They were there every step of the way cheering me on every time I got back up after falling. And they are cheering for you too.

I am so grateful for the gospel. I am so grateful for the atonement.
I know my savior Jesus Christ paid the price so that I could repent. I know he loves me. I know that even though the world makes a mockery of what we believe, that it is true. It is true and it is worth the sacrifices it takes to live it. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

i'm excited

A congratulations is in order....

My husband received a letter in the mail saying he passed the written and the manual skill portions of Utah's Nurse Aide Competency Exam. Or in other words, he is officially a certified nursing assistant. :)

That's one more thing to cross off on the marriage bucket list!
Isn't he so handsome?!

School starts tomorrow. 
Ammon will be taking Anatomy at UVU and Anatomy only, in hopes to get an A. (he's totally going to rock it!) 
I am officially a senior which means I only have one more semester at UVU and then I do my student teaching. Oh yeah! 

Ammon and I went and did a little bit of school clothes shopping. But for me, it was more like school shoes shopping. Forever Young Shoes at the Orem mall was having a killer deal in the back of the store. All shoes were only $20 and they were buy one get one free. So that means they were only $10 each! I couldn't believe it. It took me a while to find 2 pairs I absolutely loved, but when I did, I was very happy.  

(The only reason I am posting this is to inform others of the great deal that is going on. Okay fine... and to show off my new shoes.)

 And because I like to keep a record of the different ways I color my hair, here is the latest: 
A very gradual ombre. I love it! Jana (my best friend's sister) is the best.
I am excited for school to start. I know a lot of other people aren't, but I'll admit it.. I am.
 I'm excited to hear all about Ammon's anatomy class. I'm excited to see my classmates again. I'm excited to work less and be at school more. I'm excited to learn more on how to be a good teacher. And most of all... I'm excited that I am just one step closer to graduating and moving on the bigger and better things. :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

eye of the tiger music video

I finally finished this music video. Only a select few can see it. So if that's you... enjoy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

well... wii gave in

After wanting to get a wii for over a year, we finally caved in.

It's been fun. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

girls and boys are different

Marriage is sometimes hard because boys and girls are different.

Here is a lil example of what I am talking about.

A couple weeks ago, I was searching for some materials to make a menu board at walmart. 
Although Ammon didn't really get the point of a menu board, he was still super supportive because he knew I really wanted one.
Well. We get to the craft section of walmart and I'm picking up different types of wooden boards trying to figure out which one to get. 
At one point, Ammon picks up a board that is already a chalk board.
Then he says, "What about this!? It's perfect!" 
But in my head I'm thinking, "No it's not. That's not what I'm looking for." I think Ammon could tell from my expression because then he said, "You're right. It's too small."
After this comment, I just nodded and smiled. Then, after several minutes I finally decided on a board.

Side note: The real reason it wasn't perfect is because it took the fun out of making a craft. 
Boys and girls are different. I was trying to find all the supplies I would need so I could enjoy making something. Ammon was trying to help me by finding the final product already made.

When I try and clean the house I start cleaning the dishes. Then I see the kitchen floor and start sweeping, even when I haven't finished the dishes. Then I need to vacuum. I'm all over the place. Ammon, however, is really good at doing a really good job one thing at a time.

I saw this video in my psychology class once. It is hilarious! The guy speaking is a little crazy. But what he says is so true!

Men's brains are filled with boxes that don't touch and women's brains are filled with wires connecting left and right. For the most part, I think he's onto something. 

Although girls and boys are different, there's a reason they are. (And I'm not going to go into detail here because that's for a whole different conversation). The point is that marriage works when you use your differences to your advantage instead of getting frustrated that your spouse doesn't think like you do. I am spontaneous, talk to strangers easily, and get distracted easily. Ammon is a really good planner, is more reserved and can concentrate easily when working on a task. He helps me remember things and get things done on time when I'm starting to get distracted, and I help him get out of his shell when it comes to church callings and other get-togethers. I like to do crafts and blog and Ammon likes to read and research things. He teaches me things he has learned and I teach him things I have learned. And when it comes to decision making, we express both of our opinion's and go from there.

Okay. One last thing I want to add is that even though men and women are different I would recommend finding a spouse that likes doing the big things with you. If you love hiking and camping and being outdoors but you marry someone that doesn't like doing those things and would rather always be indoors, then I think that would make your marriage more difficult than it needs to be. The most successful marriages I've seen are those where the husband and wife share a lot of the same passions and interests. And if they aren't interested in the same thing, then they at least learn more about it so that they can understand it more.

my wedding day

I'm not sure why, but all of a sudden I am nervous that one day my apartment will catch fire while I am away and I will lose all of my journals with precious memories. And all that will be left is my blog. Which takes care of everything after I got married, but not the actual day of my wedding. The solution is simple: Put it on the blog. When the end of the world comes and all that's left is cyberspace, I will still have access to my thoughts on the best day in the whole wide world.

Saturday, May 12th 2012 (We got married on April 28th 2012)

Well. Time to tell about my wedding day. The night before, I drove to my Aunt Laura's house. My little cousin, Ceaira, let me have her room and bathroom for the night. My Aunt Laura and Uncle came and talked with me for a few minutes and then I hit the sack. Surprisingly, I was able to fall asleep fairly quickly. The next morning, I woke up early, feeling very nervous! But not in a bad way. Just the unsure-of-what-to-expect kind of nervous. So I prayed and felt much better! I was starting to get really excited! Then I showered and waited for a co-worker, Kamren to arrive so she could do my hair and make-up. Luckily, she arrived early and even brought her friend Jenny to help out. The two of them did my hair and make-up and it was absolutely perfect! 

Then I followed my mom and dad to the temple. I was really nervous and excited when the temple came into view. As I was trying to find a parking spot, I drove past Ammon who had just parked his truck. Oh man! I was so excited to see Ammon! And he looked so dang handsome! Then I finally found a parking spot on the other side. I got to the temple and joined Ammon, his parents, and my parents, where we presented our recommends. Then it was time to get ready for the ceremony. Once Ammon and I were both ready, our sealer pulled us aside and reviewed our info and made sure everything was correct and then we entered the sealing room. It was so good seeing all of our family and friends. Everyone seemed so happy to see us. Our sealer then gave us some advice before performing the ceremony. 

I can't share everything that happened in that room, but I can share this: The spirit was so incredibly strong that day and I knew I had made the right choice to get married in God's temple. Nothing can replace the joy and peace I felt when I knelt across the alter, looking at Ammon, and being sealed together. It is my hope that my future children choose to get married in the temple too. I know it is difficult at times. (Like seriously, I know how hard it is) but it is so worth it and it is possible with the atonement to overcome any obstacles that prevent us from going to the temple. 

Anyway. Back to my wedding day. After the ceremony it was time to get ready to exit the temple and see everyone. Once I was finally ready, I watched as my parents walked out of the temple with their arms in the air, holding hands. 
Then it was mine and Ammon's turn. The moment I had always been waiting for. We walked out of the temple and it was so good seeing all of our friends and family lined up, smiling, pointing, and taking pictures of us. It was like I was in a dream. 
Then all of the sudden, Ammon was being bombarded by his cousins. 
Then all of my best friends and bridesmaids ran up to me. It was so good having all of them there. 
After more hugs and congratulations, it was picture time. That was interesting. So much of Ammon's family was there. They were probably 70% of everyone there. Needless to say, pictures with his family were bigger than with my small amount. 
Ammon's family
My family

 But it was still so great. My closest family members were there and that's what matters.

 After may group photos, Ammon and I took pictures just the two of us.

Then it was time for the luncheon! 
The luncheon was one of my favorite parts. All of our immediate family was there and bridesmaids and groomsmen. 

[insert whatever details you want here]

I was a little nervous driving to the reception, because I didn't know what to expect. But when I got there, I was so surprised and shocked! It looked so gorgeous and better than what I had in mind. My aunt Laura and a ward member hung up all the frames I had painted and she hung up pictures and the tables were so perfect. I felt like a princess touring the new castle she's going to be staying in. 

The reception went very well. It was so good seeing so many people I hadn't seen in a while. My favorite was Ammon's little cousin who kept staring at me and my dress like I was the prettiest thing she had ever seen. I loved it! 

At the end of the reception we were sent off  with bubbles and a car filled with balloons.
  It truly was the perfect day. It was the best day I've ever had. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

ammon plus leah

I updated mine and Ammon's story on my blog. And by update, I just mean I added more details and tried to sound more clever. Click the link below if you wanna read it. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

how to enhance your scripture study

Okay. Here's the thing. I shave always struggled with consistently reading my scriptures.  There have been times in the past that I did a good job, but overall, it has been a struggle of mine. When New Year's came around, I made it a goal to never go a day without reading my scriptures. I was so determined. January was a success and I think I did a pretty good job in February too. However, come March, April, May, June, and July, I went back to my old ways of only reading them every so often. 

If you're reading this and you're struggling too, then keep reading because I think I have discovered a new way to keep people like me (the easily distracted, artsy kind) not only consistently reading from the scriptures, but studying them too.

For my birthday, Ammon got me some pretty awesome gifts. He knew I needed a new scripture case and that I wanted a CTR ring, so while he was grabbing me those, he also grabbed some scripture markers.
I absolutely love them! It's the best gift he could have given me because now I am using them and reading from the scriptures like no one's business! 

There are many different ways to enhance your scripture study time and if anyone tells you that there is only one correct way of doing it, I don't think that is true. Everyone is different and scripture study time is going to be different for everyone. I am someone that gets distracted easily while I'm reading. If the slightest noise is going on, I have a hard time concentrating. I am also a very artsy person, which means I still love to color and use anything that emits color. (Hence the reason Ammon takes me to Color Me Mine each year for my birthday)

Here's what I've been doing that has really helped me stay focused and engaged: I am still reading in chronological order (right now, it's from in the Book of Mormon) and as I read, I mark things that stand out to me using a certain color.  Different people use different colors for different things. I picked topics that I wanted to focus on and colors that made sense to me. 

Faith is like a light so that's why I picked yellow. 
Prayer starts with p and so does purple so that's why I picked purple. 
The atonement is the greatest evidence of our Savior's love and in doing so, he shed his blood for us, so that's why I picked red. 
I picked salmon for love and charity because that's another good color for love. 
The Holly Ghost is a spirit and blue seemed like a good color for that. 
You get the picture, right?
The possibilities are endless and just pick whatever feels good for you.

Each day I've been reading a chapter or two and sometimes it comes out looking like this:
Call me a nerd, but I think it is fun! And I look forward to reading my scriptures. 
I would recommend doing this with a new set of scriptures. I still cling to my scriptures that I've had since I was 8 years old, but I've noticed that if I read from them, then I tend to just skim the parts that aren't highlighted and only read the parts that are already highlighted. However, when I read from a blank slate, new things stand out to me because I am at a different stage in my life. 

The Book of Mormon is true and I love reading from it. Although I struggle with consistently read from it, I know that when I do, there are so many questions that can be answered within the pages of this beautiful book. The person I need and want to become becomes more clear as I read about previous prophets and their example. I love the stories. I love reading about my Savior Jesus Christ who I know loves me and made it possible to become a better person. I love it all!
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