As it is the eve of Thanksgiving of 2014, I can't help but reminisce on where I was this time last year. I was in the beautiful and sunny San Diego with my family enjoying time together and feeling especially grateful for them and my serious boyfriend (now husband) back in Provo.
Us pictured below right before he dropped me off at the SLC airport for Thanksgiving:
I love Thanksgiving because, obviously, the food is incredible but more importantly, it not only gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we are grateful for but is a holiday that is meant for exactly that!
My favorite thing to do is go around and say what you are grateful for. When my family does that, it often turns into a testimony meeting of sorts where we express our gratitude for many things, including each other and the gospel. I love feeling the special spirit when I spend time with my family.
This is my first year not being home in California for Thanksgiving and it is a little weird. Not bad weird, just different. I absolutely adore my White side of the family. I seriously could not be more blessed with the family I married into. They have treated me like family from the very beginning and I love them eternally. It will just be strange to not chow down on turkey with my little brother Mason or laugh with my cousin Jessica. It will be strange to not watch some football with my dad, grandpa and uncles. It will be strange to not help out in the kitchen a little with my mom, grandma and aunts. The thing is... I am not sad. I will miss my family, but I will be with my family too. How truly grateful I am for all the incredible family I am blessed with.
Don't forget to tell your loved ones that they are just that... Loved. Call your family! Kiss your husband or mom or dad or sibling! Whoever you spend your holiday with, make sure you express your appreciation. Help out in the kitchen! Write a list of what you are grateful for! Eat good food, have a great day and try to remember what this holiday is all about.
A few things I am grateful for:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints // My family // My sweet, hilarious and kind best friend of a husband // Friends // Freedom and America // Missionaries (I love Elder Moser!) // Temples // The Book of Mormon // General Conference // FaceTime // My (somewhat neglected) Nikon D3000 // Blankets // Hot Chocolate // Means of Travel // The ability to walk and run // My roommates returning home from their Missions // Pajamas // My sweet nieces and nephews // The Mormon Tabernacle Choir //
The summer of 2012 was my very first semester (actually term) here at the beautiful Brigham Young University. I was so very excited to be here and all my expectations were exceeded. Living on my own? Sometimes a little homesick, but great. Having roommates? Sometimes a little crazy, but great. Cooking for myself? Sometimes really really rough, but still great. The boys? Great, great, great. It was such a wonderful first experience at BYU and I will always love that first summer. My ward was incredible! The bishopric was stellar and you could feel their love for you as an individual. The members of this ward were all just incredible. One of those members was Madeline. We first met at a movie party thing that my soon-to-be FHE brothers put on. Two of the guys putting it on wanted to run to the creamery to grab some snacks and asked Madie and I if we wanted to go so we did! I didn't get to know her too well on that little walk but I did get to hear her melodious, contagious laugh and, let me tell you, we laughed the whole time. After this little gathering the weekend before school started, I didn't see or talk to Madie much throughout the semester.
Now, summer term was spent in the beautiful and luxurious New Heritage buildings that are nicer than the apartment Zach and I currently live in. I envy those Freshman and their granite showers and spacious kitchens. I loved living there but would soon have to move out and into the Wyview student housing which is North West of campus and kind of far away. A little over a mile away actually. When I originally signed up for housing Fall Semester I was too late to find a New Heritage spot. Anyways, it was older and farther away from campus, plus it just wasn't the New Heritage I had come to know and love. So my awesome older cousin Emily, who not only took me under her wing as a senior when I was a freshman and was always there if and when I needed her but also just so happened to work in the BYU housing office, helped me find a way to barely snag a rare spot in N.H. Even better, it was in the same building I was currently living in and on the same floor.. Next door to my Summer apartment. It was truly a tender mercy of the Lord and definitely only possible because of Emily who was so patient and willing to help me out. I sure love that cousin of mine. Funny enough, Madie's story was very similar. She got into New Heritage after searching a bunch and found a spot! In the same building as me.. On the same floor as me.. And the same apartment.. And the same room. This girl that I had only briefly met, went through a similar experience that I did with finding a spot in N.H., and we would soon be immediate roommates. What a beautiful, tender and incredibly large blessing from The Lord. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity I was given.
So after summer, I went home for a few weeks to brace myself for a new semester and when I got back to school I moved all my stuff into my new apartment. Best. Roommates. Ever. I know everyone says that and thinks that, but like I'm sorry guys cuz I won dat. The first roommate moved in was Ali Woolstenhulme. She's from Salt Lake and currently on a mission. It was fun for it to be just her and I for a few days before the other two girls got there but I mostly watched Netflix in my room while she went to New Student Orientation. Then, Kapri Beus got there. She is from a little town in Northern Utah called Garland who just got back from her mission to Brazil. Finally, the next day Madie arrived and our little apartment of four was complete. The first weekend of school, both Ali and Kapri went home for the weekend because, well, they could. So Madie and I hung out together the whole weekend. We walked to the Creamery on Ninth and bought Limon Jarritos to go with our packaged Cookie Dough, walked to a bench and then sat and talked for a while. We got to know each other so well that weekend. Past boys, current boys, hobbies, families, the works. As I got to know Madie better, I knew I needed to learn a lot from her. I noticed that she never said a single negative thing about another person ever. She only saw the good... And that is something I will never forget because, sometimes, there is a lot of not-so-good to see in others (like her roommate and how messy she was..) She was the kindest person I have ever met and never failed to cheer you up when needed or go out of her way to be kind.
Us four as roommates became the best of friends. We laughed together, cried together, talked about boys together, had amazing spiritual experiences together but mostly.. We came to love each other as family and we came to learn from each other. Of course, we all have our differences and sometimes disagreed and got frustrated with eachother.. But never Madie.
November 19th, 2012 was the last day I ever saw my dear friend and roommate Madie. It was the day I flew home for Thanksgiving break. Madie was rushing out the door to take a test before leaving with her brother, Taylor, and his soon-to-be Fiance, Bailee. And I was rushing out the door to meet my ride to the airport, excited that Thanksgiving and a reunion with my family was getting closer every moment. We shared a quick hug and "See you in a week! Travel safe!". It's amazing how when you are suddenly stripped of the ability to say something meaningful like,"I love you. Thank you for the amazing woman and example you are to me and so many others.", you realize that every moment to express those feelings to your loved ones count.
I arrived in Oakland late in the evening on Monday night. My family picked me up from the airport, we went home and spent some time together and then everyone went to bed. I woke up early the next day to go with my mom to one of her fitness classes at the gym. When I got home, I hadn't even showered yet when I got on Facebook. Typical college kid, am I right? I was scrolling through my feed when I saw a weird post to Madie's wall. It said something along the lines of, "You were amazing. I will never forget you."As I read that, I thought, "Well that's weird. What a strange inside joke." So, I clicked on her name which would take me to her profile which had many posts similar to the first one I had read. My heart plummeted downward in my body. I felt absolutely sick to my stomach as I wondered what in the world had happened. I called Ali. No answer. I called Kapri. No answer. My mind went into this weird blank, numb comatose state as tears started to uncontrollably stream down my face. I called them both again with no answers. I then called my Bishop who holds such a dear place in my heart, he is a second Grandfather to me. He answered on the second ring. "Bishop, what happened?! I don't understand! What happened to Madie? Is she okay?" All he had to say was "I'm so sorry. There was an accident..."before I burst into tears and ran to my bedroom door where my mom was just outside. I am so grateful she was there because I couldn't talk to Bishop Steele. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't even stand. I handed my phone to my mom so she could talk to him and started to sob. I don't recall another time in my life when I felt so suddenly and desperately grief stricken. I ran into my brother Matt's room and just sort of collapsed on the floor where he held me as I sobbed. Our sweet family dog, Bentley, came and laid by me and licked my hands because I'm sure he could tell I was beside myself as I sobbed audibly for I don't know how long.
Taylor, Bailee and Madie were in a car accident that took Madie's life instantly and nearly took Taylor's life as well. With life threatening injuries, such as severed vertebrae in his spine and a broken neck/back, Taylor's life was spared and had a long road to recovery. His recovery, against all odds, was only months and can walk and run and dance. Taylor and Bailee are now married and the most beautiful couple.
I decided to fly back to school a day earlier than I had originally planned. As my cousin Emily, I told you she was awesome, dropped me back off to my dorm from the airport I felt nervous and uncomfortable. The place was a ghost town and the doors were locked. The walk from the front doors of the building to my apartment door was the longest walk I have ever walked. Being the first one back from break, the apartment was left exactly how each roommate left it. Especially Madie's things. I sat on my bad for a long time just thinking and looking at her things and crying. Madie didn't really have "bedding" on her bed. She had her sheet, her pillow with an awesome Smurf pillow case and a fuzzy blanket. It's all she needed! On her bed were scraps of paper from an assignment she was working on about Elephants for her Writing class. Everything just as she had left it. The next day, Sunday, I went to the morning meeting I had with the Bishopric and other leaders in our ward every Sunday. Right away, we got into how we could reach out to her family and show them our love, how we would comfort the members of our ward, etc. We were focusing on others and how we could help them. I was a little hurt at first because I was one of those people that needed comfort. Me! Then Madie's influence of always good slapped me back into reality. Not me. Others. We needed to focus on others and how we could help them! And that is exactly what we did. In the true fashion of Madeline Rose. We loved, cared for and reached out to others.
Madie was from Texas so that is where her funeral would be. As roommates, Ali, Kapri and I were adamant about getting there. One way or another. We talked it out for what seemed like hours over the course of about a week. Trains? Flying? Driving? Then the most amazing thing happened. One of Rachelle's, Madie's incredible older sister, friends, who just so happened to be a flight attendant, told her she wanted to help. So she gave us three roommates her remaining buddy passes for the year to fly us to Texas. Again, in the true spirit of Madie, this pattern of helping others before yourself pops up in my life. The short three days we were in Texas were some of the most special days in my life. I had never before felt the spirit so constant and strong. Meeting Madie's family, who we had heard so many great things about, was like meeting up again old friends. We comforted them but mostly they comforted us. We laughed together over old memories of Madie and cried a little, too. We ate Los Cucos green salsa and queso. We sang together. I love the Morris family like my own. Friends of the Morris family let us stay in their home and fed us while we were in Texas. They were kind and loving and they put our needs above their own. Just like Madie would have.
The time following the funeral and Madie's passing were not easy. After family friends helped move Madie's things from her side of the room, I couldn't sleep in there alone. So I moved my mattress into Ali and Kapri's room for the rest of the semester and went into the other room just to change and get things I needed. But after Madie's passing I also learned a great deal about kindness and selflessness. This pattern I had seen of people helping others and forgetting themselves had become evident in my everyday life. From that first church meeting back from Thanksgiving to Rachelle's friend flying us to Texas to the Guerrero and Clay families driving us places and letting us stay in their home. Madie was always kind and never talked ill of anyone. She put others before herself and although she is not physically on this earth anymore, she is nearby watching over her family and those she loves. Because of her kindness and Christlike example, I strive to be a better person everyday. Lastly, I know that I will be able to see my dear friend Madeline Rose Morris again one day and that it will be a glorious reunion filled with Beyonce, dancing and a whole lot of laughter.
"Kindness is the essence of greatness." - Joseph B. Wirthlin
Snow. I have such an interesting love/hate relationship with snow. The first snowfall is so beautiful and peaceful and I love watching it fall (from indoors, not really outdoors). It makes me so excited for the Holidays and I really like being inside with family, hot chocolate and Christmas decorations. However, once I get back from Christmas break and it's just bleak and cold, then the snow gets all dirty and sloshy.. I start to really hate it. That is when I am completely ready for springtime.
But for now, I will love the snow and enjoy every minute of not despising it. Here is a (somewhat edited) picture of the very first snowfall here in Provo. It did not stick for long, but it was beautiful.
Because it has been getting colder I have been making a lot more stovetop popcorn. And it has been yuuuummy! Normally when I make popcorn, Zach is there to share it with me but Friday he was taking/preparing for a test until the evening so I decided to make some and only eat half while I watched Anastasia on Netflix. I only ate about.. 2/3 which I decided was an accomplishment. I have also been making more hot chocolate and that's a perfect combo. See?? Look how perfect!
A project of mine since we moved into our apartment was to clean up the built in desk in our living room that has sort of just become a place to put stuff and let it sit for long periods of time. It wasn't as organized as I would like and it made me feel cluttered which I don't love. So, we bought a couple of organizational tools from IKEA and on Monday I went to town. It surprisingly took a lot longer than I thought and still even looks a little cluttered. But I can now use the desk if I want to and there is a place for (kinda/almost) everything so I was pretty happy with the outcome.
I feel so blessed and I am so grateful for a loving husband who does all he can for our little family. I am grateful we have an amazing family and that some of that amazing family lives so close by. I am grateful for Saturday mornings where we wake up early, open the blinds and watch the snow fall. I am grateful for this beautiful life and all the blessings we are blessed with.
This past weekend was a busier one for us. Friday evening I went up with some friends to SLC for a bachelorette party for my good friend Emily. I am so excited for her to get married, as married life is truly the best! We went to Litza's Pizza which was so yummy and stayed the night in a hotel. It was so fun to have a girls night with such fun ladies!
The whole gang
A mini two topping pizza with garlic butter sauce (YUM), sausage and tomato!
We were reeeaaally excited about the diet coke pitcher our lovely waitress left with us..
The next morning Zach drove out to SLC to pick me up and then we got to spend some time with my cousin Sammy and her awesome family. We had lunch at one of Zach's favorites, Crown Burger, then went and hiked Ensign Peak. It was an easy hike and a gorgeous view, plus being with some of the best people didn't hurt. Here are some pics from the hike:
The view was BEAUTIFUL!
Selfies are always necessary on an adventure such as this
Mike and Leo reading the monument
Sammy, Noble and Claire checking out the "nature" view
Mmmhmm, my man my MAN.
After the hike, we went back to Sam and Mike's for some homemade (and delicious) Butterfinger milkshakes. I love watching Zach play with kids because he is so good with them. He is always genuinely interested in what they have to say (which is SO dang cute) and plays with them like they are his own.
On our way home from the great SLC, we had to stop at IKEA. I have just been itching to head back there since we got married and have moved into our own place. Ikea is so fun and never seems to disappoint. I love walking around with Zach and asking each other questions like,"This kitchen or this one?" as we stand in between the aisle of 6 different types of kitchens.
"Honey, there's an Asian family in our bathroom..."
Although we can't afford to buy every-little-thing we see, we were able to buy a couple of decor items I liked (Zach also likes them, but I picked them out and he sweetly let me get them). We got a cute clock, a pot and fake flower plant, & some organizational decor items! After IKEA, Zach and I went to GAP because I haven't spent my birthday gift card from my parents (with is 5 months overdue) OR back to school shopping. What can I say? I may love GAP, but I hate shopping. It was good to be together but it was a little bit like torture to have to take off my clothes to try other clothes on just to have to put my original clothes back on. Talk about hassle. After being gone day, we rented "Edge of Tomorrow", popped popcorn and sipped on yummy hot chocolate.
To make a good weekend even better, I made some homemade buttermilk syrup and pancakes for a late Sunday breakfast. What could possible be better than later church so we can sleep in, make yummy breakfast and stay in our PJ's while we spend some time working on things together?? Not much. So we did just that. Here is a pic of the yumminess for you to salivate over:
And now we are watching Cupcake Wars while I blog and Zach does homework before we Skype my family, write my missionaries and take on another week of school.
I'm so grateful for this time I have with my Zachary to go on all day adventures but still be able to come home and just be together. It's the (White's.. haha) life.
Although I am grateful for many different things everyday, I have decided to alter my grateful project a little bit. Instead of 25 days of grateful (I don't want to overwhelm either of you two devoted followers of mine or my blogging capacities) I will post when I feel appropriate about things I am grateful for and every time I post, the post will include at least one thing I am grateful for. Fair? I think so.
Today I am grateful for good friends, easy recipes and Target. Ever since Zach and I got married, I feel as though I have struggled a little bit in the friend department. Zach has lots of friends and would meet with them on a regular basis and it always seemed a lot harder to keep up with my friends and our busy work schedules. Since this Fall semester has started up, Zach and I spend a lot more time with our friends together which has been a blast. Just last night we had some friends over for dinner and we just laughed a lot of the time! It was so great and, I am sure, added some years onto each of our lives.
I am also grateful for easy recipes because it can be overwhelming to try and tackle more complex recipes on my own without building up to it. Here are some pictures of our very first dinner I made in our very first apartment together:
It was crockpot chicken, rice and corn. And it was awful. Of course, it is hard to mess up rice and frozen corn so those were edible but the chicken was (I think, still not sure to this day) over cooked and rubbery. It was so sad for me, I worked so dang hard and the meal was a flop. Zach was, of course, very sweet about it and claimed it was very delicious but I knew it was not. Anyway, here is my new go-to chicken recipe and it is so good.
I am grateful for Target. I love love love Target so much! We got a boatload of Target gift cards for our wedding and after tonight, they have all been used and spent on good things. I have become so impressed with Target over the years. Good clothes, cute decor and just basically anything you could possible need. Because we had a little Target money left, we purchased some good items in preparation for the winter with necessities such as:
Hot Chocolate mix, specifically Stephen's
I wish I could just have an unlimited Target gift card. That would be truly livin'.
Today, I am especially grateful for babies. I am maybe a little baby hungry.. But at the same time I am absolutely loving this time I have with my husband with just the two of us. I really love it. Babies are just so cute and little and sweet and angelic and make the cutest little sounds. I just love 'em.
Here are some of my favorite babies:
Today I am grateful for Daylight savings "fall back" because I loved getting that extra hour of sleep and being able to snuggle in bed with my sweet husband extra long this morning as it rained. I love the rain. I am also grateful for my awesome Relief Society sisters and how amazing they were throughout my lesson on Pornography, fast sundays and great friends.
Here is a highlight of the talk that my lesson was on. Enjoy!
Everyday of November until Thanksgiving, I want to mention or quickly post something I am grateful for everyday. I love doing things like this because it is good to be reminded everyday to "count your many blessings".
Today, I am grateful for my family. I want to start out with one of the greatest blessings in the book. My Moser family who birthed me, raised me, fed me, disciplined (when necessary) me, taught me how to have fun and be a good person, who laughed with me, cried with me and listened to me cry. I am grateful for my parents who have always been my best of friends and taught me what parents do and who they are. For my brothers whom I have always loved over-protectively and who taught me lots (only with the help of our mom) about what being a mother is. For my Moser and Autentico grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins whom I owe much of who I am.
My White family who took me in as their own even when Zach and I had first started dating. Who have fed me soooo many incredible Sunday (along with every other day of the week) dinners, introduced me to some of the most classic films like What About Bob, encouraged me when I changed my major and so many other amazing things. For my new brothers and sisters because you can never have to many of those, especially when they are as amazing as mine. For giving me THE most adorable nieces and nephews in the world. For the amazing aunts and uncles and cousins whom I love so much. And of course, for giving me Zachary.
My own little Zach-and-me family. I love our own little two-man family. Given, we are very excited for when we decide to expand our family but for now we are loving our time to get to know each other better. I love Zachary for all that he is and way too many reasons to list. He is my best friend, he is my person, my favorite, my love, the future-father-of-my-children. He snuggles with me in the earlier hours of the morning which is like my all-time-favorite thing. He does the dishes when I don't feel like it. He dances with me when I want to dance. He is incredible & I love him.
I am so grateful for family and for the fact that I can be with them for forever! I love you all family!
This has become one of my favorite Holidays and seasons for multiple reasons. One reason is because Zach and I started to become mores serious in the month of October last year and I loved those butterflies that came when started to get more serious. Butterflies I still get daily. Another reason I LOVE Halloween is because of the wonderful traditions the family has. A.K.A. HOMEMADE DONUTS. I know, right? I drool just thinking about them/looking at pictures. It's bad, yet so so good.
So, Thurdsay night Zach and I went over to Zach's parent's house for pumpkin carving! We actually only ended up carving one pumpkin and painted the rest. They all looked so great! I painted the "W" pumpkin, Bonnie painted the Dia de los Muertos pumpkin, Megan painted the "boo!" pumpkin and Zach (sort of, Megan cleaned it up) painted the candy corn pumpkin! Don't they look awesome??
I was soooo excited to see how awesome all the pumpkins looked outside on the porch! I didn't get a picture of the carved pumpkin with a light inside but it looked awesome as well. Last year in October and around the time of Halloween, Zach and I had started to become more serious in our relationship so it is a cherished time for us. Especially, because the White's tradition is to make homemade donuts and offer those they know trick-or-treating at the door to come in and have a donut. 1. They are divine. I mean, melt-in-your-mouth-uhhhhmazing, warm, soft, delicious kindof divine. 2. It was so fun to learn how to make the donuts last night! I felt like I was learning a bunch of good donut related secrets and getting a glimpse into how amazing Zach's mom is to do this and share goodness to others! I loved spending time with Bonnie and a few of her wonderful sisters in the kitchen, laughing and chatting. They are wonderful and I love them! Here is a pic, don't salivate too much.
(pic of us in the kitchen courtesy of Phlaurel)
After we hung out at Bonnie & Monroe's for a good long while, we went out with some of our good friends!
Jacob & Megan and Corbin & Jenna all came over to partake in the goodness of the homemade donuts then we headed over to the free party/event on Center street in front of (one of our favorite restaurants) Guru's. We figured since it was free to get in, it was a dance party, and there would be coupons for free stuff we would check it out. It was fun for a little but we decided to head over to Corbin's house to watch the best movie of all time. Troll 2.
I can't say anything about it because I have no words. It was incredible. We had the best time and I am so glad that we were able to go on such another fun date but that it could be with such fun friends that we love so much! Until next year, October. We will miss you but look forward to seeing you again next year.