let your lamp BURN

“It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances…whatever they may be.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf…  My old Young Women president, Cristie Carter, texted me this quote on a Sunday morning.  Cristie is always so thoughtful and is constantly thinking of how she can help others.  I didn’t think much of the quote, in fact I didn’t even read the whole thing until after sacrament meeting.

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The speaker in sacrament meeting posed the question: “how are we supposed to be grateful when life sucks?” In my head I started thinking “I have no idea dude.”  The young man went on to discuss why we are here on Earth.  We aren’t here on Earth to have the best clothes, the biggest house, or the most followers.  We are here on Earth to PREPARE.  Sorry to quote Uchtdorf again (He’s the MAN) but during this past Women’s Conference he said “God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine.”  We as human beings cannot comprehend what our Heavenly Father has in store for his children.  God knows All things.  So yes, that means he knows things we don’t.

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In several of my recent church meetings the parable of the ten virgins has been brought up mostly because of  Linda K. Burton’s analysis of it during women’s conference.  Here is a link to her talk in case you missed it.

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The parable comes from Matthew 25

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

“And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. …

“[They that were] wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

“But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

“But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not.”

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When I heard this parable as a kid I can remember thinking to myself “why didn’t the others share their oil?” and “why did they have to have a lamp?”  This parable really confused me so, like many things I don’t understand, I shrugged it off.  However, I was happy to learn I wasn’t the only one who was perplexed by this story. Sister Burton helped me understand it so much better.  She likens the story to temple preparation.  She said ‘consider the words of a latter-day prophet who taught that “the oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.” President Spencer W. Kimball.’  It is up to YOU as an individual to prepare yourself drop by drop.

So that begs the question… “How can we better prepare ourselves drop by drop?”  I leave that question open ended, because we can prepare for many things whether it be for the temple, marriage, baptism, eternal life, a mission, etc.  Anyway, back to the point.  How can we better prepare ourselves?  You guessed it the basic primary answers we have been saying for years.

- Church Attendance – Fasting – Tithing – Personal & Family Prayer – Scripture Study – Service – Family Home Evening – Following the Commandments – ETC.

Nobody can do this for you.  Nor can you do it for anyone else.  Often times I think I wonder if I can just ride on Chris’ coattails to the celestial kingdom.  No one is gonna make sure you are actually paying attention to the sacrament.  Nobody is going to check if you made it all the way to dinner to break your fast.  It is up to you to determine your own salvation.

My goal is to be like Moroni in my preparation. Alma 49:8 ” they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known…

But, here is the kicker… Remember what feels like forever ago when I mentioned Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s quote.. Let’s revisit it.

“It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances…whatever they may be.”

How easy is it to be grateful and do the right thing when life seems to be going our way?  EASY AS PIE. Okay, maybe not that easy, but it comes more natural that’s for sure. So what happens when your life gets thrown a curve ball?  Do we head in the other direction and let our light grow dim?  NO! FILL THOSE LANTERNS TILL THEY ARE OVERFLOWING!

First, we MUST take a step back and have faith in the fact that Heavenly Father is a loving and all knowing God, he has a plan.

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Second, we MUST fall back on and become more diligent in what we have been doing to prepare for this curve ball. Do all those basic primary things. Turn towards your scriptures not away! Fall on your knees not your pillow!

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Third, be grateful for a loving family! Spend time with them, serve them, and let them serve you.

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Fourth, attend the Temple, in any capacity that you are able.  Whether it be baptisms, an Endowment session, or just being outside and near a Temple.  The temple is where I have the best spiritual insights and where I can go to feel calm.

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Fifth, (last the best of all the game) use the atonement and your Savior as much as you can.  Jesus Christ atoned for our sins but He also has felt everything you PERSONALLY have ever felt.  Christ is there for you in everything…The happy easy times and the curve ball, life sucks times.

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God has given us this recipe for happiness in both the hard times and the good times.  The instructions are there for us and we must make the choice. Life is hard but it can be oh so joyful if we take the time to spiritually prepare ourselves for life’s surprises.  Fill up your Lamp with oil drop by drop and let it BURN!


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the purpose of art is to wash the dust of daily life off our souls. . .

I loved tagging along with Tessa Barton on this shoot with these gorgeous red heads.

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Baby be the class clown
I’ll be the beauty queen in tears
It’s a new art form showing people how little we care.
We’re so happy, even when we’re smilin’ out of fear
Let’s go down to the tennis court, and talk it up like yeah.

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Helped my friend Haley out with a school project.  She’s a babe.FinalLightroom-10 FinalLightroom-11

5 Days

Chris was in LA for 5 days at Nickelodeon for work.  It is torture when your spouse gets to go somewhere cool WITHOUT YOU.  It brought back the sentimental yet horrible memories of Chris living in Chicago for 5 MONTHS while I was here in Salt Lake.  The hours spent face timing was incalculable and the amount of time we spent together during those months can basically be added up to barely two weeks.  Chris and I haven’t spent too much time apart since we’ve been married…  Which was a much needed break after the long distance dating.  I missed Chris the whole week while I went to school, cleaned, played words with friends, ate chick fil a, watched netflix, played casino with grandma, taught dance, edited. (watched more netflix.) I was super productive hahahaha. FINALLY, Chris came home Friday with Flowers from Jolley’s in hand and said “Can I take you out tonight?” Love that kid.

We got drinks at shivers. YUM. Then Chris decided he really wanted to go bowling.  I agreed and we headed to Olympus Hills Bowling Alley.  The reason we go to Oly hills besides the fact it is a great time is because they have our favorite arcade game: Big Buck Hunter SAFARI.  We arrive at the bowling alley excited to start the night with Big Buck Hunter.  WE LOOK EVERYWHERE.  They got rid of it.  Holding back tears Chris decided we would go to a different bowling alley.  This time we head to Sue & Rich’s.  Guess What? The coolest, most ghetto, cheap bowling alley is CLOSED. CLOOOOOSED for good! *wipes away tear* On to the next alley.  Fat Cats on 900 E. It is always packed on the weekends but the plus side… It has tons of arcade games.  We waited in line to buy a round of bowling and get our shoes for about 15 minutes.  When we got to the front of the line we both looked at each other and Chris said “Do we really wanna bowl?”  Got right out of line and headed to the arcade.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have the Safari version of Big Buck Hunter but the regular one did just fine.  We played a couple of games and headed home.  Quite the date night right?  I love that I can do anything with Chris and still laugh and have a good time.  That’s what your spouse should be for you.  A safe place, someone who can make any situation better.  Chris is that and more for me.

At least we got some good pictures.  Chris had my camera all week in LA and I had been craving it!!!! Here is what we got!


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Moving

It has been almost a month since Chris and I packed up and moved.  When you think about it we only moved about ten minutes from where we were living.  But, let me be honest here.

I MISS IT. 

I miss living downtown, the hustle and bustle.

I miss being in the seventeenth ward.

I miss being a leader in the Young Womens.

I miss getting to the U in under ten minutes.

I miss swinging by Chris’ work to go to lunch together.

I miss sitting on the Capitol Building’s Lawn.

I miss city creek.

I miss California Burgers and Deli.

I miss lots. (you get it.)

We were happy where we were.  Really happy.  So why did we all of a sudden move? Well for one thing the apartment we were living in only had a nine month lease which was ending in October.  We jokingly talked about moving somewhere when the lease was up but not very seriously.  It is never fun to pack everything up all the crap under our bed and in our drawers and closet etc.  That did not sound fun.  There was one dilemma.  Our apartment was quickly becoming too small.  We didn’t have a table to eat on or a desk to work at.  If you know Chris and I both of our jobs require a lot of work at the computer editing photos and working on after effects.  Sitting on the ground for several hours editing photos was becoming painful.  Bottom line. WE NEEDED MORE ROOM.  This made me kind of sad.  I felt ungrateful and vain.  How could two people have so much stuff after nine months???  Nonetheless I began the grueling task of searching through the KSL classifieds to see what was out there.  So many hours spent on that site.  After calling, texting, and emailing countless apartment owners I was becoming discouraged.  No place had everything we needed.  None were worth moving.  Until one Sunday night at my parent’s house we were watching a Niners football game and once again I was scrolling through KSL.  I came across an apartment with a familiar street name.  Sure enough it is a street less than a minute from my grandma’s house.  Not just my grandma’s house my newly married brother and sister in law’s house… and some of my favorite cousins, The Garriotts, Fuhrimans, and Nate the Great.  I have ALWAYS wanted to live on what we call the “Compound” but there was no place to live.

  Until NOW!

So I visited the place…  Basement apartment. PROS: so close to my relatives, TWICE as big as our other apartment.  CONS: it is OLDDDD.  Scariest bathtub you have ever seen.

Chris was absolutely against moving into this apartment.  I was devastated.  I was willing to shower in a terrible bathtub if it meant living right by my Grandma.  Chris didn’t quite understand that. Chris had been on his own for a long time now.  He had never lived right by family like I grew up with.  So I got over it. (kind of)  I realized it wasn’t something Chris would do.  We then visited the place Chris was dying to live.  Nice, big, GREAT bathroom.  Before going there I even told Chris we could live here… It’d be great.  I was trying.  We walk in with the owner and I just felt BLEH.  Which is weird because it was great.  I put on a smiley face though to make Chris happy.  The owner asked if we were ready to sign the lease.  Chris eagerly said “of course”  Luckily the owner forgot the paperwork!  We had the rest of the weekend to think about it.  As soon as we left I told Chris this is NOT where we are suppose to live.  That night we prayed for guidance of where to move or if we should even move.  The next day Chris talked the rent down on the place near my grandma.  Not only that he got them to resurface the bathtub!!!!!!!  IF THAT WASN’T GOD SENT I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS!!!  We moved in the next week and since then to say the least it has been so amazing.

I LOVE IT.

I love having room to breathe.

I love that we have kitchen table to eat at that cost $13

I love that we have a desk.

I love that I teach dance down the street and can run there.

I love that I can see my Grandma EVERYDAY.

I love that Chris gets to see how fun it is to live so close to family.

I love that I can go over to the Garriotts & Fuhrimans for anything like food, ib profen, and just good chats.

I love that we have already watched two movies with Nate the Great (Ghostbusters 2 & Robocop the Original)

I love that we spend our weekends watching football with my grandma and playing Casino with her.

I love that we can carpool to Family Sunday dinner with Asia & Zeke.

I love the quiet in our neighborhood. (you get it)

We are so excited for what is in store at this new apartment.

P.S. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED US MOVE! We couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks for the delicious meal at Stella’s afterwards.

Mom, Dad, Mckay, James, Asia, Zeke, the Gochnours, etc.

P.S.S.  I never want to ever have to move again.  It sucks.  (props to all those families who move all the time.. You the Real MVP)

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