Monday, April 2, 2018

How it all began

Once upon a time there was a girl who was on dating apps. It wasn't her favorite thing, but it was the only way she ever went on dates. She matched with hundreds of men, some great, some not so great. She went on lots of dates, some great, some not so great. And she was afraid that this would be her lot in life. A perpetual dater. Then one day she saw a new dating app advertised on Instagram and decided to give it a try. It wasn't her favorite app ever. She got a few matches and one of them started to talk to her. Little did she know when she agreed to a first date, that it would be her last first date.

That's it. That's the exciting story of how I met Bryan. We had both been on the app less than a week. We met at Cafe Rio for our first date. We saw each other 5-6 days a week for the first 3 weeks. By date #4 we were exclusive. Day 10 I was just waiting for him to say I love you, so I could say it back. I don't know why that was a thing for me, to wait for him to say it first, but we were only 10 days in and I felt a little silly saying it. I barely knew him! I met his family at the beginning of February and we were already talking marriage at that point. 3 weeks later we made the drive up to Idaho so he could meet my parents. I guess you could say we are the typical Mormons and I'm really okay with that. As my dad says, "when you know, you know. Why wait?"

At the beginning of March we went ring shopping and picked out the most beautiful ring. It's simple and I love it. He isn't very good with secrets so I knew when he had picked it up and I knew where we were going for him to propose. What better place for this Disney fan girl than the happiest place on earth? My cousin was there to record it for us and it was fun to have some people around to cheer. We spent the whole day at Disneyland and it was perfect.

He has two kids who I adore (girl-13 and boy-10). They are really great kids. They make me laugh and I'm finally getting over feeling like an idiot when I'm around them. I am also going from 1 niece and my 3 adopted nephews to his 13 nieces and nephews. Yesterday at Easter dinner, his almost 8 year old nephew called me "aunt Cathy" and it was just the cutest!

Wedding planning is stressing me out, but I'm on spring break and I'm determined to knock some things out and feel on top of it. I've made myself a to-do list and I'm going to work on it diligently. Hopefully by the beginning of next month, there will only be a few tiny things to take care of. The biggest stress in all the wedding planning for me is waiting for the temple clearance. If anyone is looking for something to fast for this next Sunday, I'd take all the extra help we can get.

I never would have thought in December when I had ZERO prospects that I would be planning a wedding for June?! I am so blessed to have found someone who treats me so well and shows me in so many ways that he loves and values me. I hope he feels that I do the same for him. I'm excited for this new adventure in my life!

Saturday, January 13, 2018


I have a good feeling about 2018. I'm sure it won't be without it's challenges. I'd think something was wrong if there weren't any, but I think good things will happen this year. I'm halfway through my first year of teaching and really feel like this is a good place for me. Teaching has helped me so much in my personal development as I struggle to figure things out and learn how to be more patient. Thankfully my successes in patience are outnumbering my failings these days.
I have seen the importance of reaching out and be willing to step out of my comfort zones as people in my ward have opened their arms and invited me in. It's amazing how something so small as letting me hold your child really touches my heart.
This year has already brought new people, new adventures and new opportunities and I'm excited to see what the rest of the year brings.

Happy 2018!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Walking in Faith

Sometimes you have to make hard decisions and hope for the best. Often times you question whether or not you made the right decision. It's not often you get the confirmation that you did actually make the right choice. Sure things might have turned out differently if you had made a different choice, but in general people are who they are. You hope good things for them, that they'll make good choices, but you only have control over yourself and you have to do what's best for  you. What will take you closer to God and make you the happiest.
People will disappoint time after time, but God won't. Sometimes it seems like he does, but in the end he won't disappoint you. You have to trust in his plan for you and keep moving forward. Recognize that disappointments won't last forever because he always has something better in store for you.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 in review

I only marked a few off this year. I added one to the list. I feel like I added more than that, but I didn't write them down. 2017 was a good year for my personal growth and development.  A new career being at the top of the list.

- Go on a cruise '11 '13
- Go skydiving '11 '12
- Learn Italian
- Visit Italy '13
- Learn to play the guitar
- Go to the festival of colors '11
- Run a 1/2 marathon '11 and a lot more
- Ride in a hot air balloon/ go to the hot air balloon festival in New Mexico
- Shoot a gun '12 and few more times
- Write a children's book
- See Josh Groban in concert '11
- See Wicked '12
- Go to all the temples in Utah '16
- See a firefly
-Visit Iceland
- Get married
- Watch a meteor shower '13
- Hike the Y '12
- Be in a flash mob
- Visit Prince Edward Island
- Swim with dolphins '15
- Visit all 50 of the United States
- Be the voice of an animated character
- Be complaint free for 30 days
- Ride a tandem bike
- Run a Marathon '12
- Run a Ragnar'13
- Go to a Brad Paisley concert '13
-Visit Cambodia
- Visit Europe. A lot of it.
- Go on a spur of the moment trip. on a plane. to somewhere random.
- Be a volunteer at a telethon'13
- Do a triathlon
- Get a Master's degree '17
- Visit all the National Parks- Crater Lake and Redwoods '17
- Visit Croatia

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tis the season

With the year coming to a close it's a time a reflection and reevaluation. I'm 4 months into my first year of teaching. I'm still working diligently on having more patience. I am finding what works with certain students and what doesn't. I'm constantly trying to figure out how to be more effective. I am officially on winter break and I have a cold to prove that I haven't been getting enough sleep the last week or two.
As I look back at this year I see so much growth and so many things to be grateful for. I finished my degree, got a teaching job and started teaching. I moved to a new place, went to a new ward, got a new calling. My car died and I've been incredibly humbled to be driving the purple people eater. I became an aunt and it's my very favorite. I didn't date anyone this year. And I've learned even more how important it is to love yourself and be okay with where you are and work on what you are in control of.
I have had so much love and support as I have struggled through difficult things and succeeded in other places. So many people have been willing to reach out and help me, whether that was with their words or their very tangible acts of service. 10 years ago as I prepared to leave on a mission, I never would have looked forward and seen myself where I am now. That's how God works. I am grateful for the lessons I've learned in the last 10 years. Especially about myself and what I am capable of.
I am looking forward to 2018 and all the opportunities it will bring. I'm still working on tweaking a few "New Years Resolutions" but I know it will be a successful year. When God is on your side, it's always a success.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Just like that

On the mission I would always tell myself I could do anything for 6 weeks. Transfers are 6 weeks long and I think they do that to save our sanity. Even when I didn't get transferred and was stuck in the same area with the same companion, there was that speck of hope, and knowledge that I could do anything for 6 weeks. There might be another 6 weeks of the same thing right after, but that didn't matter. Although I don't have transfers now, I am using that 6 week mark to keep myself sane. I can make it 6 weeks. Anything for 6 weeks. I just made it through my first "transfer" as a first year teacher. 6 weeks in and everyone is still alive! Just like the mission, there are a few people I wish could get transferred and some days are much better than others, but I'm learning a lot about myself and growing everyday. I'm studying Christlike attributes (read attribute, aka patience) and working hard to figure out what is going to work for each of my little "investigators".
Like learning a new language, teaching takes time and really immersion is the best way to learn. It doesn't always sound (look) exactly right, but if I don't try, it won't get any better. These kids need what I have to offer.
Despite being tired mentally, physically and emotionally, I feel fulfilled and I feel like I am making a difference for at least a few of these students. I'll get better, I'll still have bad days, but before I know it I'll be looking back asking myself if that really happened. Missing the people I met and loved and hoping the very best for them as they move on with their lives.
My life is the same thing over and over. It's disguised, but basically it's the same. Different people, different locations, but the same lessons just applied in a different way which I guess makes them new lessons. Life really is good. The hard times make you realize how you have grown and how you are growing. You can see how God is preparing you or was preparing you. God is good.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Highlights of a first year teacher Part 1

School is well under way and I am quickly learning that, like the mission, no matter how much people tell you it will be hard, you don't really understand until you are there. I hear having a child is the same way. You think you are prepared, you know it will be hard, you can do hard things, and then you're in the middle of it and you think "WHY THE HECK IS THIS SO HARD!?"
Last week the art teacher asked me to come and see her on my lunch break. I felt like I was being summoned to the principal's office. I thought to myself "what could they have done, they were only there for 15 minutes?! (there was a fire drill). I went in expecting the very worst report of my little gems and their behavior but I was surprised when she asked me how I was doing. :) She is new to the school so we were in training meetings together, but she is not new to teaching. She told me "you have a hard class". I felt SO validated. I thought maybe I was just the worst teacher there ever was and that's why they were so ridiculous.
Yesterday the P.E. teacher came in and asked me how I was doing and told me "you have a hard class". Validation again! With that validation still comes trepidation about what I'm going to do to reign this crazy class in. They are making progress, but it's slow and hard to see. BUT there have been some successes.
My little autistic boy likes to not do whatever we are doing. Our school follows love and logic for classroom management and I find it hard sometimes to give choices where I still get them to do what needs to be done. I went and talked to his first grade teacher and she told me to use recess for his choices. He can do whatever we are doing with us, or he can stay in at recess and do it with me then. It's been very successful. He also gets a sticker every time he participates with the class and when he gets 10 he gets a prize.
I have an emotional little guy who loves to hang on me. I'll be at the front of the class and he'll come up and hug me and just hang on. I hug him back and try to send him back to his seat but it only works sometimes. Most times he crawls under his desk or wanders around the room. His emotions also lead to outbursts of him shouting that no one cares about him and that he wants to die. After one particularly bad day this week, I went and talked to the school counselor and she came the next day to observe my class. She gave me some suggestions and I moved their desks after school. Friday was a ROUGH day. My kids were unruly and this particular child hadn't been in his desk longer than 5 minutes. After asking 12 or more times for him to sit in his chair and being at the breaking point for my patience, God took pity on me and sent some inspiration. I set a timer for 10 minutes and put it on his desk. I told him if he would stay in his seat for 10 minutes I'd give him a sticker for his sticker sheet. As soon as it went off, I gave him the sticker and reset the timer for another round. He sat and participated for 45 minutes! He finished filling his sticker sheet and had his prize on his desk when he came back from lunch! As terrible as the morning was, that one success made my whole day!! Hopefully it continues working. I went and bought 4 more timers yesterday and I'm going to try it with a couple other students, one who shouts out ALL.THE.TIME and two others who won't stay on task to save their lives. Even if it doesn't work, at least I've got two kids working in the right direction and hopefully that helps our class as a whole. They are 3 points away from a movie party so I'm hoping they make it this week so we can have some positive reinforcement for their good behavior.