Thursday, October 23, 2014


I'm not one to get stressed out often, but I will tell you what, on days like yesterday I am so grateful for my mom. School I'm good with. Work I'm good with. Interning I'm good with. Major diet changes...those I'm not so good with. Ever since I got back from the Philippines I've been trying to eat a little healthier. I switched to whole grain bread. I didn't buy anything that had high amounts of sugar in them. As a matter of fact the only thing I did buy that had some sugar in it was granola bars. Granted, I'd let myself slide when I was out with friends or things like that, but compared to pre-Philippines I was doing a million times better. Then this happened.

One day. That was about how much I was losing in one day. It got to the point where I was afraid to wash my hair because that is when I would loose the most. I would wear my hair up in an extremely loose side pony so that I wouldn't have to worry about it falling out throughout the day. I had already cut back on blow drying and straightening my hair, but at that point I just quit all together. Nothing helped. 

I told a few people that I am close to. Usually their first reaction was stress. My schedule was crazy busy, but I really liked it that way. School wasn't getting to me. Work wasn't getting to me. My internship wasn't getting to me. In fact I loved it all; classes, my patients, the people in the office I intern with. Other than the fact that I was terrified of being bald in two months, I could only think of one thing that stressed me out. Even that I was only having to deal with a couple times a week. The only other thing I could think of was that it was a delayed reaction from dengue. The more I looked into it the lease likely it seemed that dengue was the problem.

At that point I decided to go in to the doctor to get my blood tested. When the test came back it showed that I had hypothyroidism. I got put on a thyroid medication and all I knew was that I would have to go back in six weeks. Naturally the first thing I did was jump online to figure out what it was. The symptoms made sense, but the causes didn't sense at all. 

I still don't know what caused it, but I do know that there is something in all sorts of foods that makes it worse. Goitrogens. I won't bore you with the list, but I knew that if I wanted to stay on top of it I was going to have to completely revamp my pantry. Paleo websites became my new best friend. Looking at the recipes I was going to have to modify them somewhat, but I found quite a few that looked good. I even found some cupcakes :) So yesterday after looking up enough recipes to get me through the next couple days my ever-so-patient mother went with me to restock my pantry. Overwhelmed is the only word that comes to mind when I think of how that experience was. My mom definitely made it a million times better though. 

So here's to a new lifestyle. It's not going to be easy, but if this past year has taught me anything it is that these are the times when I really get to learn, and I am so grateful that a loving Heavenly Father that knows what I am capable of. I'm still the same me. I'm still loving school. I'm still loving work. I'm still loving my internship. I have great friends, and and incredible family. What more could I possibly ask for? :)

PS. I apologize in advance if this blog all of a sudden has a million recipes on it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


This curly-haired man, 
front and center; 
that is 

I owe so much of who I am today to him. Growing up my dad gave me the type of childhood that I hope to give my children one day. He was always outside with us, playing night games or helping us figure out how to build a treehouse. I have no doubt that my love of exploring new things came from the many times he took us kids down the street to explore all the new homes that were going in. It's been years since I've done any of those things with my dad, but the appreciation I have for my dad now worth more to me now than most anything else. In no particular order here are some of the:


1. He is my partner in all things "Hunger Games." 

This one all started the end of 2010. If you want to know the story head over here, but the condensed version is that I got really into reading "The Hunger Games" about two years before the movie came out; so much that it made my dad want to start reading it. One thing you need to know about my dad is that he absolutely HATES going to the movies. He'd much rather wait for the movie to come to Redbox and watch it from home. Never ever has my dad suggested going to the movies. He also works early, which means he is usually in bed early. So when my dad came up to me and told me he wanted to go to the midnight showing when the first one came out I was ecstatic. We did it for the first one. We did it for the second one, and you'd better believe we'll be seeing the next two.  

2. He puts other's wants in front of his own.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen my dad set aside his dislike of something because it meant a lot to someone in my family. That kind of selfless support is something that has shaped me a lot in the way that I am with my friends and family. He taught me that in relationships, whether it be with family or someone you're close to, that at times you are going to have to do things out of love even if it's not something all that exciting to you. He taught me to put people before wants. 


3. If I get caught in a pickle he will drop everything to help me.
I am notorious for locking my keys in my car. My car is also notorious for having things go wrong everyone in a while. I just moved a bunch of rather large furniture into my apartment. My dad has been there with my keys, some tools,  or as an extra set of hands every single time. I even called him on Tuesday after I got off work (it was late) and the first thing my dad said was "What's wrong?" Nothing was wrong, but I know that if something had been, then he would have been at my front door in a heartbeat to help me. 

4. He is a problem solver.
A couple months ago as I was moving into my old apartment my roommates and I could not figure out how to get one of the couches downstairs. The doorframe we had to squeeze it through seemed smaller than the couch in every direction we could think of. I finally decided to call my dad, hoping that by taking off the screen door in the basement that we could take it in that way. My dad showed up and realized that taking the door off wasn't an option, but just by looking at the couch he realized that if we opened up the recliner and turned it in a specific direction that we could shorten one of the lengths, making it possible to take it down the stairs. All he has to do is look at something and he's got it figured out. 

5. He is a handyman.
For as long as I can remember my dad has been able to fix just about anything. Or if he sees something he likes he can figure out not just how to build it, but how to build it better. Plumbing, electrical, installing flooring, framing, putting up sheetrock, painting and texturing. Rarely have I seen my parents pay anyone to do any kind of remodeling. My dad has always know exactly what to do, and if he doesn't then he'll look it up and find the answers until he does.  

6. His love of the outdoors.  
My dad has always been a mountain biker, a backpacker, a hiker, a camper and a fisher. He would always take us on rides up in the mountains growing up, or when we would have ward activities up the canyons we would go wander off on some trail. I always loved when he would come home and we'd get to hear stories from his fifty-mile hikes and winter camping with the scouts. 

7. The things he teaches me. 
My dad is constantly teaching me new things. Last Christmas break he let my sister and I into his world and taught us about woodworking. This summer I needed to know what knots would work the best for putting up a temporary shelter and he taught me exactly what I needed to do from thousands of miles away. The lessons that have meant the most to me though have been about different aspects of the gospel. He's taught me how to strengthen my faith when I've needed it the most.

8. Nobody worries about me more than he does. 
With all the time Taylor and I have spent abroad the last couple years, I am positive that we have unintentionally caused my dad quite a few sleepless nights. He is always so good about letting us do the things we love, even if it means we are in places he's never been to. When I got sick my dad was the person who checked up on me the most, and when Taylor came home early I remember my dad pacing around the airport as we waited for him, just wanting to see that Taylor was ok. My dad is the most caring people I know, especially when it comes to his kids. 

9. The advice he gives. 
School, friends, church, work, life. For the most part, I am able to handle the ups and downs of it all pretty well. It takes a lot to really shake me, but every once in a while it happens and my dad always knows just what to say. One of the moments I look back on quite a bit was right after Kaesi got married. It was just my dad, Kaesi and I out on the back porch and my dad gave my sister some marriage advice that was so sincere and so from the heart. I will never ever forget that or the many other times that my dad has been there to guide me along.

10. His example. 
In all things church-related, my dad has been a huge example to me. He's taught me how to persevere when I don't feel like I'm getting answers, or when I struggle to read the scriptures. He's taught me what it means to magnify a calling, and how to really care for the people around me. He has shown me what it means to honor the priesthood and to always go the extra mile. He's showed me how to be simply by being himself. 

Friday, October 10, 2014


Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time around me can probably tell you that I love being spontaneous. There is something about going into something with no plan, being able to hope for the best, working your way through the unexpected, and being able to do something you never could have planned that is just so exhilarating.  

I can tell you right now that the last thing I thought I would be doing tonight was learning how to skin an elk's head with five little girls, 2 younger boys, and two of my closest friends. 

Cole has been a rancher for life. I have risen horses. Kelly grew up around with farms and such all around her, but I'm pretty positive she has never had to skin any animals head. Yet here we were in Cole's backyard, his nieces and nephews all around. They had all just finished hauling hay when Kelly and I got there. Then, out of nowhere, this happened (WARNING: If you have a weak stomach I   would probably skip the video).

I have to admit, that after taking anatomy I found the whole thing to be extremely fascinating. Do I ever want to skin an elk's head on my own? Yeah, not really. Next time Cole skins one do I even want to be there? If his nieces and nephews are there I will happily sit back and watch their commentary for hours. The things they had to say had Kell and me in hysterics the entire time. 

Had you told me when I woke up yesterday morning that I would end my day like that, I would have looked at you in complete shock. "Seriously?" As gross and gruesome as it was though, I really did love it. I loved being able to watch Cole do something he is passionate about. I loved learning all about elk. I loved being able to hang out with his incredible family. I loved spending time talking to Mama Ras, and just catching up with my friends. I loved the conversations Kell and I had in the car, and I love that I can add something new to my list of firsts. Life throws some rather unique opportunities at you sometimes. My advice: Take them :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Chatterbox in the Convent

The first half of my senior year in high school I decided to take a CNA class. Up until that point, all I ever wanted to be was a nurse, so I figured I might as well take that first step and get some experience under my belt. By January 2007 I had my CNA certification. Although I didn't end up going on to be a nurse, working with my CNA has been such an incredible opportunity. I've been able to work in an Alzheimer's unit, as a Health Counselor, in long-term care, short-term care. The area I have spent the most time in has been transitional rehabilitation; in other words, post-surgical rehab.

I'd be lying if I said that the work was always easy and that I have loved every second of it, but for the most part I really have been able to enjoy it. Working in transitional rehab has given me the chance to meet so many different people in a wide variety of ages. We've had people as young as 26, and as old as 103. Sometimes they stay for three days, and sometimes they stay for 3 months. That's where the love of my job comes in. For most of these people, they have never had to be completely dependent on someone else's care. As a CNA I get to know people on a level that most people will never come into contact within the workplace. The fact that they are living in this new place, away from home stirs up a lot of uncommon emotions in these people, and sometimes all they need is someone to talk to. Their stories are so different from one another and having the opportunity to listen to their backgrounds, and the lessons they've learned throughout all of their different experiences has been so neat for me. That is why I love doing what I do.

For instance, earlier this week I was in talking to a lady that has been with us a couple of times after different surgeries. The first time it was her right knee, the next her back, and this time her left knee. I  was working there when she had her first knee done, but not for her back. She came back a few weeks ago after having her second knee done and remembered exactly who I was. There is nothing work related that I love more than having return patients. It's bittersweet because you have to see them go through another surgery, but the connection that comes when the patient comes back for the second time is like running into a best friend that you haven't seen in years. That is exactly how it was with this lady.

For the sake of this story, we will call her Maria, and Maria loves to talk. We talk about Africa. We talk about the Philippines. We talk about the adorable little lady down that hall that everyone loves. Well this time as I was getting her all settled into bed she wanted to know about my relationship status. The next thing I know we are talking about the time Maria, a very devoted Catholic, decided to join the convent. Understand that this lady and her chatterbox ways also happens to be a little rebellious at times, hence the reason we are calling her Maria. My mind immediately went to "The Sound of Music."

I love learning about other peoples beliefs, and the way other cultures and religions do things. For instance, did you know that the Roman Catholic convents worldwide house over 800,000 nuns and sisters? Did you know that the two are different? Or that the clothing they wear is called a "habit"? Did you know that before they have taken their vows they wear white and after they wear black unless they are Missionaries of Charity, then they wear blue? I also learned, although this could have just been in Maria's specific convent, that while there they are only allowed to talk during two specific time frames a day and that they are usually no longer than an hour. I learned that when leaving the convent you are not allowed to tell any of the other women that you are leaving. No goodbyes, you just simply have to disappear. I learned that they attend college at a typical college with everyday people. I learned that there is so much more to their devotion than I ever realized.

Maria went on to tell me all sorts of things about her life outside of the convent; how she met her husband and what their life was like together. Those are the moments that make me love what I do; the moments that I get to hear the stories of others. Am I going to be a CNA forever? No. But it is something that I will cherish each day that I am.