Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We have so much to be grateful for this year. In reflection, I can think of no better place to be. Here are a couple highlights.

  • We moved to Rexburg, Idaho so Adam could finish his schooling at BYU-Idaho. Adam is studying Health Science with a
    Promotional Emphasis and has decided to go on the Physician Assistant track. I will never forget the kindness of my friends in DC helping us pack up and hosting me as Adam and I were apart in January until I could make the move. Shout out to my mom for being my driving companion through the most snowy, hazardous time to drive across the country. We are so risky!!

  • I was fully employed by the company
    I worked with in Virginia working as the Corporate Social Responsibility Team Lead where I developed a project plan to enhance community relations and employee engagement at
    DMI. I was able to work from home, and kept strict hours, was able to get in a daily workout, and cooked food everyday. Unfortunately, my employment came to a close with a shift in corporate direction. I will never forget the opportunity to grow in this position and take charge of something I cared about. I will forever be grateful to DMI for this opportunity, and still respect the people in the company and what they are trying to accomplish.

  • I immediately retained another position at Accelas Solutions, a company specializing in integration and configuration of Oracle's CRM software. I recognize the blessings associated with this position, as we were unsure of the opportunities in the area. My sweetheart's simple testimony and faith of our future is what sustained me through this change. It was only one week that I did not have a job, and we see the Lord's hand in our speedy recovery from unemployment. This job challenged me in ways that helped me grow and learn. I had the opportunity to lead projects, become familiar with a new software tool, work with IT specialists on the other side of things, and develop business processes - something that I love to do.

  • We have an amazing church family.
    I was called to work with the Young Women and bounced around with the different age groups (12-17 year olds). They quickly became my family, and I am grateful for all those crazies! I am constantly strengthened by their faith, and admire how they handle all the battles they have to fight, and do EVERYTHING they do. Adam serves as a Ward Missionary. He knew even before he was asked, and loves the opportunity to teach Sunday lessons, and make visits to people in our church. I have seen his faith revitalized and strengthened by unique experiences too special to talk about. We have been adopted by some church parents and love being with and spending time with them and their families.

  • Adam is a straight-A student. With some of the difficulties revealed in earlier posts, my amazing sweetheart was able to keep his grades up. I can't tell you the joy I feel seeing him grin as he showed me his grades after finals last semester. He has a brilliant mind and perseverance unlike any I have ever seen. He is off taking two test today, and I know he will do well!

  • FAMILY, DISNEYLAND and Sea World!
    Adam and I got to hang with the family at Disneyland and Sea World. Most of you know my parents get rather giddy when it comes to all things Disney. Keeping up with them through the theme parks was crazy, and we had to "caffeinate" as much as possible with a major crash at night! It was a perfect break for us as we bounced from ride to ride, making our fast pass strategy better and better. PS: that tall guy is my bro, Bryan....crazy!

  • Adam helped run a
    Blood Drive for BYU-Idaho.He and some others in his program decided to work with the Red Cross to have a 6-day blood drive. They were able to secure hundreds of donors and met their goal by a stunning margin (I don't have the numbers, but trust me, they succeeded with flying colors). It was a stressful process, but in the end it was a kind of work to be proud of.

  • Being so close to Brendon. I love that my B lives so close to us. A 3 hour drive later, and good times are had by all! This year we rocked it at the Def Leppard/KISS concert. It was our anniversary of sorts since having taken him to his first rock concert in Vegas before his mission. Fun times are had in the good ole SLC
    as he became my bosom traveling and visiting companion and accompanied me on many excursions to visit friends and family. We also hit up the Body World exhibit, ate at amazing restaurants like Caffe Molise, walked around the SLC temple to see the Christmas lights, saw Piano Guys (see this amazing Christmas video) in concert, went to see Dracula at the Desert Star Theater, I could go on and on. I love this guy....he rocks my world!

  • Being with amazing friends. We have had several visitor's (you know who you are) to this frozen little tundra. Actually, we love summer and spring in this amazing place, and had a chance to be with great friends and family as we hiked, boated, toured, and ate. Our experience here is phenomenal...we are in love!

  • Adam learned how to play the piano. I don't know if he wanted me to share that, but his skill has grown immensely and he has dreams of being able to play songs like "All of Me." He excelled in every way, and I was impressed by his perseverance and endurance through the hard task of combining two hands together to make music!

  • I am blessed to work at BYU-Idaho. After reviewing my purpose statement on my business blog, I can finally say I have my dream job. I am doing what I am passionate about. I never thought it would take me 6 years to get here, or that I would be directly working with students instead of influencing policy, but I made it, and I owe it all to God. I love what I do, and I love being a part of student's lives. I love my team and my supervisors. To write so little about the experience seems like I am cheapening it somehow, but I honestly cannot express how I feel about my current responsibilities.

  • Adam's family tree is amazing. Did you know we are related to Daniel Boone? Adam and I have been working on family history to boot! We have been able to find some amazing relatives and back up documentation on, and Thanks to his aunt, we have photos to go with our tree and hope to continue this work. It is exhilarating knowing where he comes from and all those family members who worked so hard to create an amazing legacy, one of which I am I am proud to be a part of. PS: we are still working on this getting some logistics done, so don't worry - it is a work in progress :)

Most important of all, I know that Jesus Christ is Heavenly Father's son born of a virgin mother. I know He died and lives so that all of us can be with Him and our Father in Heaven again. His birth and life was divinely orchestrated. I hope each of you have been able to reflect on this past year to recognize the divine moments, as I have. 

Adam and I are truly blessed and grateful beyond measure.

Enjoy this amazing video: He is the Gift~

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Love Mixing Religion with Work!

As you may know, I was recently employed with Brigham Young University-Idaho. Over the course of the past couple months, I have grown in ways I didn't think possible. I have been given opportunities to serve and be served, and it has made my heart beat in a way I didn't know was possible. I am living my dream. 

My purpose statement on is being fulfilled right now. Remember how hard it was for me to get here? It took me 6 years to get my dream job, and the experiences along the way have been invaluable. 

But this post isn't about what I did to get here. This post is about how I have the chance to feel the Spirit of God everyday. Today, for example, I was blessed to have two incredibly unique experiences. While they are special to me, I will not share details, but I can share some things.
  1. Happy crying makes me oh so happy. Today, I learned that I helped someone with something they have been struggling and praying about for a while. It is so awesome how the Spirit of God works so that I can help other people.
  2. Topic of conversation revolves around God. There are not too many places where the topic in the office revolves around God. From understanding how we can make our office a better place to work, to wondering what to order for lunch - making decisions and most all our conversations here revolve around God and the principles of our faith. It is pretty amazing to go to a meeting where we pray that all the decisions we make will be the kinds of decisions God would like us to make.
  3. I continue to learn new things. I am part of a family who practiced our faith since I was born. I decided to stay with my faith and developed faith in certain things as I have grown into adulthood. Even though I have been taught certain concepts and principles, I still learn new things everyday. For example, I learned about how prayer worked in the lives of students I spoke with as they were completing certain assignments. I am motivated by their stories and how God has worked in their lives. I learn so much from them and so much from others I work with all the time.
I am so blessed to work at such an incredible University where I know I am needed, and where I know I can grow and excel. My goals this year were to learn how to be a better leader, and I feel that this job is giving me what I need in order to learn and become better.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reading, Writing, and Talking about Depression is Depressing

It is so depressing talking about depression. I remember buying a book to learn more about it after my sweetheart and I discovered more about his. I started to read the book, and within the first two pages, I threw it on the ground. I didn't want to be sad. I don't like sad. Sad is an awful place to be. 

In our household, we don't talk about depression. After the discovery, my sweetheart told me that he didn't want to talk about it, not because he was in denial, but because he felt saying, "I have depression" was too much. It reminded him that there was something going on that he couldn't control. In addition with trying to understand his ADHD, it was too much to think about. 

It makes him feel like he is inferior. It makes him feel like there is something "wrong" with him. It makes him feel like he should be able to control how he was feeling, and when he can't, it gets worse.

After reading about depression, I needed a clear understanding of the definition. I only found one that I liked from

  • condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more pro-longed than that warranted by any objective reason.
Other dictionary entries say:
  • A serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way
  • A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems

All those definitions talk about "feelings" or "mood" as if the depressed person has complete control over how they are 'feeling.'  After reading the definitions from Websters, the Mayo Clinic, and Medical Encyclopedia, it is clear to me that the definition of depression is portrayed as a condition that is solely dependent on the person who has it. 

I am still struggling a bit with the idea that people who are depressed don't have any control, but I can say this: do I agree that some of the emotion is controllable? Yes. The way a person responds to it, matters. They way a person decides to figure out happiness for them, matters. However, us outsiders need to understand that sometimes, depression just is.

I remember being depressed for a time, and it was the worst thing I can remember, aside from physical pain. I remember not being able to explain where this sadness came from. I couldn't describe that no matter what I did to make it better, it wouldn't go away. I prayed, fasted, went to church to seek religious healing, served other people, searched for answers in holy writ and other reading material, meditated, exercised, everything that people tell you to do to be happy. Nothing. Not one bit of happiness. Luckily, this only lasted three months. 

I can't even think about what it would be like to combat this all the time. Imagine waking up day after day feeling like you have done everything you can, and you are still unable to shake the sadness. I do not pretend that my little stint of depression could ever be compared with a lifetime of depression.

I was moved by a story of someone who was recently saved from his overwhelming depression. In the article: Suicide and How my Brother Saved Me from Drowning, Seth Adam Smith has an interesting perspective of how we can support those who have depression. 

I think the takeaway for me is that each person struggling with depression will have a different way of finding ways to be happy, or to be "saved" from the struggle. Everyone has different coping mechanisms. 

Some may choose not talk about the fact that they struggle with it. Maybe, just maybe, not mentioning depression means they have found one way they are controlling something that may not be as controllable as we think....because talking about it is....depressing.