Sierra's View

Friday, September 12, 2014

Puppies and Dresses.

I am on a dress roll. 
(Also have you noticed i'm sort of on a fashion roll, too? Another fashion post…I'm finally feeling confident in my style!) 
I have found that wearing dresses to work are way more comfortable, flowy, and easier. 
I don't feel as cramped or hot (even though fall is happening!). For me, dresses and skirts are easier and more flattering on me than jeans or work pants. (plus trying to find a pair of pants with these thighs and butt and hips…so impossible!) 
I got this dress from Eshakti. Have you guys seen these site? It's fantastic. They handmade me this adorable dress for my good friend's wedding in a couple of weeks. I love the ruffles, length and fit. 

So, even though I feel so uncomfortable in these posts, I am putting myself out there.
Because I believe that stepping out of your comfort zone makes you more confident. 
So, enjoy :) 
Saylor also wanted to be in these pictures.
Can't blame her.
She's a diva. 

So, basically, the resolution we have come to over the past thirty seconds is this: 
puppies and dresses are awesome. 

Outfit details
Dress: Eshakti 
Cardigan: H&M
Shoes: Target
Purse: Jessica Simpson. TJ Maxx.

Don't forget to enter my birthday giveaway here.

Also, some friends and I are giving away $125 dollars cash. Who doesn't love cash? Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pushing Students Out of Their Comfort Zones | A 9/11 Post.

Recently, I have to admit, I have been very negative towards the people around me.
I love people. I truly do. But often times, I see the negative attributes about them. I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a pessimistic person, but kind of looking at the negative in every situation. Or, particularly in people.
With my students, with my friends, with my coworkers and with my husband.
I think it correlates to the fact that I have such high expectations for everyone, including myself. That, I, unfortunately, get let down.

Something in my head clicked today, though. Something changed. And I learned a huge lesson.
Sometimes life smacks you across the face.
Because, well, sometimes each of us need to be smacked, in a sense.
I realized that learning, that recognizing, the potential and good that people have, you will be seriously impressed.
I learned this, specifically, in my life as a teacher with my students.

Today was the Thirteenth Anniversary of 9/11. I have posted many thoughts on this special day here and here.  
I usually show a video about 9/11 (especially because my students weren't even alive when this happened! Crazy, huh?) but this year I showed two videos that were a little more intense and emotional, if you will.
I was nervous to see how my students would react.
But, you know what happened?
They became emotional. I had two boys cry. I had two girls cry. We, then, went into a long conversation about what it means to be an American, to be proud of where we are from, and how trials like these can help people grow. I was in awe as I watched them feel things that adults won't even let them feel. I have to admit that I almost got emotional as I chatted with them and watched these videos. If you have a few minutes, please take some time to watch these videos. They are touching and a perfect fit for a special day like today.
I didn't think my students would truly understand. I was nervous that I would be showing my students these videos and they wouldn't respond; that they would be immature and naive about it. But, they were most definitely not.

I also pushed my students more than usual thinking and writing skills by analyzing, thinking about, and talking about The Giver. I was truly amazed about how well they did.

Each year that I teach, I am amazed at how much more these kids are knowing. With the advancement of technology and maturity of twelve year olds nowadays, there are a lot of negatives that are correlated with that. But because of those things, we are also able to have amazing days in class like this. I wanted to hug about half of my students and let them know that what they were feeling was okay…that it's a good thing to actually feel something.

When you push your students out of their comfort zones….
You will be amazed at what you find.

Today, I am proud to be an American.
Today, I am proud to be a teacher.
Today, I am proud of my students.
Today, I am proud of who I am and where I am.

We will never forget. We will always remember.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ten Books That Everyone Needs to Read.

My good friend, Kristen, tagged me in a post of Ten Books that Have Influenced Me on Facebook. Often, I get tagged in things like that and ignore them. Sometimes i believe that they are silly and don't affect me. But this is one that I genuinely liked. Perhaps, it's the book nerd in me that clung to this.
Rather than just posting it on Facebook, I thought that this would be a good post. Mostly because I just have a lot of thoughts on these books.
Also, instead of just books that I like, or books that I thought were good, I wanted to talk about Ten Books that have Changed Me. In my life. I think these are ten books that everyone, truly, needs to read.
I present to you, ten books that have changed me. Ten books that have influenced me. Ten books that need to be read every single one of you. Some of these are
I put these in order of my Top 10 favorites. Enjoy.

10. Something Borrowed Series-Emily Giffin.

Okay. This is such a guilty pleasure novel. I would never consider this a classic, nor the best written novel in the world. But it is SUCH a catchy novel (series) that reels you in. Ladies, you will especially love this. I hate to admit that I love this book, but it is awesome. 
“Maybe the thing to do after you roll the dice-and lose-is simply pick them up and roll them again.” 

9. Harry Potter Series- J.K. Rowling 

Enough said, really. Need I explain this? 
It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. 

8. Where the Heart Is- Billie Letts

This book describes the upbeat side of tragedy that comes through at every turn. I was pleasantly left with the optimism that good will prevail. I know some people may think this book is naive and poorly written, however, I loved it. I thought it was a joy to read and emotionally satisfying along the way.
“...tell them that we have some good in us, too. And the only thing worth living for is the good. That’s why we’ve got to make sure we pass it on.” 

7. Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen

Okay, but really. What mid-twenties woman hasn't read this book? This is a classic. Simply, a classic. That's all. 
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” 

6. My Sister's Keeper-Jodi Picoult 

Okay, I may be weird, but I sort of love books that make me cry. Not because I like to cry. But because I love novels that make me feel things, that take me to a place where I truly connect and feel for the characters and the story. 
“You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not.” 

5. The Help- Kathryn Stockett.

The Help is a meaningful story of racism, humanity, and divine female rights. This book absolutely grabbed me and made me read. As my eyes sprinted over the words, I began to feel the characters’ pain and emotions. 
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” 

4. Tuesdays with Morrie-Mitch Albom. 

The book title says it all: an old man, a young man and life's greatest lesson. This book is full of amazing lessons, quotes and learned experiences. It is a novel that every human needs to read to just learn a lesson. 
“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” 

I wish I could explain in better words how much I love this book. It is one of the very first "dystopian society" books. I love reading it to my sixth graders and watching them analyze and take it all in. I love the theme behind this book: the idea that love and feelings are the whole purpose of this life.

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” 

2. To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee.

When I asked my grandmother,  Meme, what her favorite book was when I was 10 years old she said this novel. When I read it in high school, I was overwhelmed with memories and nostalgia for this special lady. I am not sure if it was Meme that inspired me to read this novel or something else, but I ate this book up like nobody's business. It was one of those books in high school that you should actually read. I learned so many lessons about attitude from Scout. I learned about tolerance from Atticus. If you  have not read this classic book, you need to read it now. 

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 

1. The Book of Mormon.

Aw come on, guys. You had to know that I was going to go here. My faith is a huge part of who I am. I have been going through a lot of changes with what I believe, disagreeing with parts of my culture, etc. But, when it comes down to it, this is a book that has changed me. It has brought me closer to my Savior. It has made me a better person. Seriously, what could be better than that?

Mosiah 14:5
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 

What books would you add to this list? 
What are some of your favorite novels? 

Also, don't forget to enter my birthday giveaway

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Birthday: Thoughts and a Giveaway!

Well, it's my birthday. 
I did it. I survived another year.
And I thought to myself…how cool would it be if I got to include some of my favorite bloggers (and a couple non bloggers) to say a few things about me, whether a favorite memory, post or just thoughts on me.  I have lots of new followers, and hey, what better way to get to know this birthday girl then from other peoples' thoughts?! I have loved the friendships I have made through blogging. These girls are such wonderful bloggers and people. I loved reading what they had to say :)

I will be hiking and eating a yummy dinner with my husband tonight. 
You…well, you, get to enjoy this post. 
And a little surprise giveaway at the end! Enjoy! 


I don't know that I have a specific memory of Sierra, but I always love how open and honest she is! I always know that Sierra is willing to chat about anything under the sun! I love her outgoing personality and genuine concern for others.
---Amberly (Life with Amberly and Joe) 

By far my favorite post and how I first stumbled across Sierra's blog is this one:
Things Not to Say to Someone with Depression
It really hit home with me and above all showed me that Sierra was a genuine person, that didn't hide behind fluff on her blog. Now can we be real life friends, pretty please?!

You seriously have a heart of gold and I'm so glad that we crossed paths in this big old blogging world.  I feel like you're my twin and you encourage me to never be ashamed of who I am, depression and all.  It's pretty freaking freeing!!  You have a light inside of you that I don't even think you realize you have; of confidence, grace, charm, and loyalty.
-Rachael (The Rachael Way)

One of my favorite memories with Sierra was actually the first time i met her. there was a meetup at the awful waffle in provo. i ended up sitting next to her. we bonded over unwashed hair and laughed and laughed all night long.
-Aubrey (Aubrey Zaruba) 

I'll tell you how I actually meet Sierra, like most people I know- I met her online.
So I was looking through Pinterest and came across one of Sierra's formal wedding pictures, so I clicked on the link and serious fell in love with her and Tanner's photo session! I just thought to myself "This couple is perfect and the photos were done so well and just everything was perfect!!" I then some how found her Instagram account and fell in love with Sierra even more, I had a total girl crush on her! ;) She had her blog link in her bio and uhm hello! Even better, she's a blogger!!! So I read through her blog, commenting on posts and hoping she'd notice me... she finally did. :3 When she came to my place for a blogger get together, I was low key fan girling because my girl crush is in MY house... and the rest is history! ;)
-Camille (Confidently Aligning

When I met Sierra it wasn't like I was really meeting Sierra. We'd been internet friends for... I don't know... 2-3 years? Does that sound right Mrs. Charlesworth? We emailed about teaching, blogs, BYU, and soon turned to texting about our families, puppies and friends. So when she showed up at my door for Harry Potter Book Club this spring it didn't even feel like meeting for the first time. Sierra is very much herself online - if you follow her on any social media you KNOW her. She's honest, open, true. It's refreshing in this online world of fake personalities or being more interesting online than you really are in real life. So instead of saying we've been friends for a few months, I'd like to wish my friend of several years a big Happy Birthday and best luck in your next year!
-Danica (Danakin Skywalker) 

How did I even begin to talk about Sierra? Let’s start from the beginning.
Sierra and I met during our freshmen year at BYU-Idaho. We had practically ever class together so we were destined to become friends. Sierra was spunky and direct and at first it took me off guard but she was exactly the kind of friend I needed. Life happened and we didn’t stay quite as close because of distance but as destiny would have it we both ended up in Utah. We both started blogging and as many of you know, nothing brings you together quite like a blog! Sierra was always there to talk shop, for a boost of confidence when I was nervous at a blog get together, and always available when I needed a late night chat with someone. Basically, Sierra is the kind of friend that every girl wants and needs in her life. She will tell you exactly what she thinks, she will be blunt with you, she will be 100% committed and completely loyal, and she will just be there for you whether things are looking up or down.
So Sierra. Happy birthday! You’ve made a large impact on a lot of lives during your 24 years on earth. I know everyone around you thinks the world of you. And just for the record, I do too. Thanks for always being the kind of friend I need. Love you!
--Kelsey (Stories of Kel) 

I. Love. Sierra. Sierra is one of the kindest and sweetest person I have ever met in my entire life. Even if she is down or going through a hard time, she will always have a smile on her face. Sierra inspires me to be happy. Because that is what she's best at - being completely optimistic and positive about everything. Happy birthday sierra!! I love you! 
-Amanda (We and Serendipity

HAPPY BIRTHDAY week, Sierra!
When I first started blogging Sierra was one of my first followers and her blog was one of the first that I followed. I think that was about 2 years ago. Sierra and I became instant virtual-friends, she always left the most thoughtful comments. I always loved reading them, because you could tell she actually read and thought about the post, which is the reason we all blog, right? We want people to read what we have to say and to provoke thoughts that might not have occurred otherwise. There were plenty of times in that first year that I was ready to give up on blogging, it’s another full time job. You have to maintain relationships, keep up on sponsorships, and of course, create new content on the daily - it can be pretty rough. It’s bloggers like Sierra that keep this fun game going. She has original fun posts, she is detail-oriented, organized and never EVER forgets.

Recently, after 2 years of being virtual friends, I finally met Sierra. We were texting for 2 weeks prior about a blogger meet up and I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. She kindly convinced me that I had to go and kept checking into to make sure I knew that she wanted me there, another great characteristic she has. So I arrived 45 minutes late and she still had a spot for me saved. Outside of being a great blogger, she’s really a great friend. A few days after the blogger meet up, we went to Martina McBride together and had a really fun night talking about every topic we could cover in 4 hours and it was so much fun.

So, Sierra, I hope you have a wonderful birthday - you deserve it!
-Miki (Becoming What I Always Was

Feelings of Inadequacy 
So this blog post was the very first I ever read of Sierras. I worked with her husband and remembered he mentioned she had a blog so of course I went to go stalk it (I mean...check it out...casually) This was her most recent post at the time and I remember reading it and feeling SO empathetic and every sentence I kept thinking "ME TOO. ME TOO. HEY THATS JUST LIKE ME AS WELL". Her writing style was so relatable to me and the things she was going through I had gone through and I instantly felt connected to her. I pretty much devoured her blog that night and felt so much compassion for Sierra and felt so connected to her, even though we'd never even talked. It didn't take long for us to become the best of friends and turns out, we are essentially twins/lovers so I mean... it was a match made in heaven. I will always be in debt to her for this wonderful friendship, built on a beautifully written blog that struck a chord way deep down in my heart. Seriously the happiest of birthdays to you, my friend. You deserve it. Love your face.
-Catherine (The Influence of You

I love Sierra! She's like a bright shining ball of energy. My favorite thing about Sierra is that you always know exactly how she feels. No holding back here people!
Her honesty and spunk immediately attracted me to her and we've been friends ever since.

++And last, but not least, one of my besties wanted to be included in this post even though she isn't a blogger. This one is directed kind of just towards me, but it works :) 

My Dear Sierra, 
i just spent the past hour going through all the pictures that i have of the two of us. we have undoubtedly had many adventures. to think that we have been friends now for over six years, thats just crazy to me. when i first met you back in fall 2008 i knew that you were going to be a very important person in my life. i knew that we would be eternal friends, it was strange, but i could just sense it. we went through so much those first few months of our friendship, but through all the ish...we remained close. i believe it was our mutual love of 'friends' along with our stubborn need to talk to each other as often as possible. ​
one of my favorite memories of you is during that first semester that we were roommates. you would climb up into my bed at night and we would giggle, gossip, and oogle over the 'men' in our lives...or not in our lives. i had never laughed so much and felt such an instant friendship to anyone in my life and every night i gave thanks to our Father in Heaven for the great blessing of having you as one of my roommates. you got me past that barrier of wearing pants or not wearing pants in socially acceptable situations! more than that you have always been an excellent example of what it means to persevere through the most adverse trials with the testimony you have been grooming your entire life. such endurance was brought to my remembrance while i was on my mission and helped me get through some of my hardest times. I will always count you as one of my best friends Sierra! God sent you to this earth to influence change around you, and you certainly have in me. I love you dear! Happy Happy Birthday!!


And, because, well, it's my birthday (wait…you didn't know that?) I decided I wanted to give one of YOU a present. I'm so kind, I know. I have teamed up with my dear blogging friend, Alexa, who has the most adorable Etsy shop on the planet, to give away 35$ worth of store credit!!! Her shop includes, but is definitely not limited to, these beautiful drawings of my two favorite LDS temples. We have them up in our home! This shop has so many cute things. You will definitely want to be involved in this one. Good luck :) 

Reminder: We will verify entries. Please be sure to only enter if you are planning on truly following. 

Click to join the giveaway

Monday, September 8, 2014

Oh, August. You Will Be Missed.

| June Recap |
| July Recap |

August 2014.
I'm sure gonna miss you, summer. You were good to me.
All photos via instagram.

From top left to right. 
+Taking Saylor on a bike ride. With her in my backpack. Hahahaha. 
+Snake River in Wyoming. So beautiful. 
+Those mountains are the view that I see everyday from my school. Crazy! 
+Happy Sierra :) 
+Niece, Teya. Those eyes! 

From top left to right. 
+Love those antique gas pumps in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming. 
+I love seeing all of the deer running around in Alpine! (yes in the cemetery!)
+Back to School Night.
+T Money and I play on a co-ed softball team!
+Just saylor. Cause she's adorable. 
+Reunited with old friends. 
+Sister & brother in law came in town for a short weekend. So good to see them

Hope your August was as fabulous as ours! Here's to Fall!! Pumpkin everything! Woo too! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Without Love, What's the Point? | The Giver

The Giver. 
This book. This movie. Where do I even begin?
I adore it. So much.
I have read The Giver to my students all three years now. I have read this book probably about seven times in total. Words cannot describe how much I love this book. I remember when I was in sixth grade and my teacher read it to me. I would sit there and color and listen to the concept of it, completely entranced by the words and ideas of it all. I was enthralled then and I am enthralled now.

Now, if you haven't read the book (or seen the movie), this is, essentially, the summary of it: Jonas, a young boy, lives in a dystopian world of the future. The Ceremony of Twelve introduces him to a whole new existence, as the Receiver of Memory. Jonas experiences memories from the past that his community has forgotten: color, animals, and a sunset. But, he also has to experience the negative aspects of these memories: the history of hatred, pain and war. Through these memories, Jonas learns the importance of emotion, feelings and love for the very first time.

There are a few aspects, specifically, that I love about this novel:

*I absolutely love the writing. Lois Lowry writes in a way that challenges the reader to think and process. Her word choice, imagery, metaphors and overall writing is fabulous. I love that her writing lets not only me, but my students think as well. Often times, I just want to read and discuss this book with my students for hours (if only! In my dream teaching world!). I don't normally read this book til March or April, when my students are a little bit older and more mature, but because the movie came out and they all have heard about it, I was excited to get this novel started first thing. I am so glad I did. They all are so into it and I want to instill that love of reading into them from the beginning of the year! I love the conversations that take place with my 11-12 year old students. I see their brains processing, thinking and feeling about this book. I am amazed at some of their responses. Here are what some of them have said in recent journal entries:

"In Jonas's world they are missing color, and they never get hurt. If they never get hurt they are never going to learn anything."

"They're dull.(: They listen to what others say. They don't really fight with others. They don't experience pain."

"Basically everybody in Jonas's community just follows the rules and doesn't question them at all. They do not have color, animals, or even their own family."

"In the giver the people have no choices. They want everything to be the same. I would not like this lifestyle because I would want color and sunshine and love."

"Their mising love. They don't understand real pain. "

"Everyone is the same, no one is different. Choices are made for them. We should live in a  world where we make our own choices."

So cool to see that they are learning and thinking, huh? Don't judge their responses. Beginning of sixth grade.I am still working' on them ;)  

*I love that they made the movie. T Money and I saw it on Labor Day and after he was like, "that was boring." But I loved it. Yes, it was kind of slow. But I almost cried like three different times. I love how they added elements to make it more theatrical.  They had to in order to make it a little more interested. I was very impressed with it.

*There is something so incredibly fascinating about this novel. I love the whole concept behind it: without love, what's the point? Because, it's true. Without emotions, without love, without the good AND the bad, the entire purpose of our lives here on this earth are pointless. I couldn't sleep last night and I woke up at 6 am. It was a beautiful, brisk fall morning so I got my pup and decided to go for a long run/walk. On this walk, I kept thinking about the whole concept of emotions, feelings and love. If you read my Word Vomit post then you know that those three things are aspects of life I am fully aware of. Sometimes I get frustrated with my emotions, how I feel them so often, but then I remind myself what my father used to tell me: You may be frustrated that you feel so much negative, but because you feel the lows, you also feel the highs. And it's true. I do know true joy. I feel so much happiness in my life. But, in order to have that, I also feel the sadness. It's a part of who I am :)

I think that's something that we all kind of need to work on. This whole concept of love and emotion. I think we need to learn to be careful when we say, "I love you." I hear my girlfriends, friends and family say all of the time, out of habit. "OMG i love you,"... it's thrown around like it's nothing. It's awesome if you truly do love the person, but it is not necessary to say it five times a night to people.

I think we all need to practice truly loving people. Even when we, well, when we don't want to. I definitely need to work on this. There is good in everyone. And if you stop and look for a minute, you will notice the good. I tend to focus on so much of the negative that I criticize a lot. This is something I need to work on: just truly loving people for who they are, the good and the bad.

I also, lastly, think that, we, as a whole society, need to learn how to express our emotions. Because we are all so plugged in all of the time, I think that this is becoming one of your struggles. Either we bottle them and pretend lie we are fine, or we don't talk about them, or we obsessed over them and talk about them too much. It's okay to feel things. Express it, people!

So, basically, The Giver, a junior novel, led me to all of these thoughts.
It's amazing what a book can do.

Have you read The Giver? Did you like it?
Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts on it?
Do you agree with some of my statements above?
What are some things you think our society needs to work on? 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Word Vomit | An Internal Battle.

My students have this bad habit of speaking everything that comes to mind. Literally. Everything. It's quite annoying. But all of the time I tell them to stop word vomiting over me. That they don't have to say everything they think out loud to the whole class.
But, alas, I am going to word vomit all over y'all.
Hope that's okay.

I've been kind of emotional lately.
It's not the outwardly over-the-top emotional where I cry at every tender thing, kind of emotional. I have been feeling a lot internal struggles recently. Isn't that what a lot of our struggles are, anyway? Internal. Struggles that not many people know about?
 I'm not entirely sure why I have been feeling a lot of feelings. It's not that I am depressed or sad. In fact, I am so incredibly content and happy with where I am in my life. After yesterday's post, I am so overwhelmed with love and gratitude for all of the supportive, kind, thoughtful responses I received. It's amazing what writing from the heart does. It's simply that I have had a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head and heart. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Its simply that I have been weighted, in a way, by these feelings and thoughts.
I can't even begin to tell you where they came from. It's sort of just hit, like a pile of bricks.
And like I stated before, it's not that I am sad. I'm not crying all the time, or mad at someone all of the time, or even bitter to any extent.
I just have been feeling a lot. I feel things very deeply all of the time, but this is different. It's an even deeper feeling. This happens from time to time. And I have found that sometimes it starts with stress and exhaustion. Today I was gone for 13 hours. Ha. And I thought I would have time to do a play! I have this desire and urge to get back on stage; to sing and perform. But right now that's not really an option. I need to savor my energy and put that energy into other things. Right now that is my teaching, my health, my calling and young women, and my relationships.  And I have to remind myself that it's okay. It's okay to not do everything that I want. I have to let some things go, and right now that is going to have to be it. Priorities, baby!
I have recently been feeling sadness because I feel like my effort with friends is completely disregarded. I feel like old friendships are dying, even when I make effort, and that its difficult to make new friends, especially when you're married without kids! I feel like in order for people to socialize with me, I have to do everything, and even when I do, I don't feel like I am treated the way that I should be by friends. And it's disheartening. Tanner said to me other night, "Who's your best friend?" And I almost lost it. Because, even though I have so many amazing friends. I don't have that one best friend. The one who I can call any time about anything. And it makes me sad.
I have recently been feeling angry that I can't seem to get the energy or time to lose this weight that I have been, literally, carrying around.
I have recently been feeling exhausted because I feel like I am constantly on the go. I feel like I am running nine million ways. And they are all good, worthwhile, important things, but alas, I do feel that way.
I have had to make quite a few changes in my lifestyle since summer: with my testimony and religion, with my sleeping and eating habits, with my time management, with my thought processes, with my classroom, with this blog, and much, much more. Change makes me think a lot and that may be a factor. Again, I need to remind myself that it's okay for change to happen. And it's okay to feel the things I do. I am not a weak person for having lots of thoughts and feelings, even if others may not be that way. 
I just have to keep reminding myself to think good thoughts. I am doing so many good things in my life. I am working hard to be better, in all facets. Isn't that what life is all about? 

One of my favorite things to do when I feel this internal battle is go to my Pinterest and scan my Life Quotes, Overcoming, and My Faith Boards and look at some quotes. I find that it gives me perspective on life.
Plus, I am obsessed with quotes. Don't you agree?
Here were some of my favorites this evening:  (yes, I narrowed it down from 50 to like 20. Be proud).


What are you some of your favorite quotes?
Do you find that quotes help you in your life? 
Do you ever have periods of time like this? 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

10 Things Young Married Women Who Aren't Having Babies Want You To Know.

Come on, guys. You had to know that something along these lines was coming soon, right? It's been awhile since I've really spoke about the things that frustrate me. (Is it bad to admit that there are quite a few things?) 
I am all about the real on this blog, if you haven't figured that out already. 
And there is something that I think needs to be said. 

"How long have you been married?"
"When are you planning on having children?"
I can't even tell you how many times I have heard these questions. I think people are, mostly,  just trying to make conversation. And I understand that. I am not offended by it at all. I am not going to change where I live or my religion because of it. Over the past few weeks, however, this topic has been on my mind.
Recently, I have had a few pregnancy scares. I hate calling them scares, because it has such a negative connotation to it, but, I told you I was going to be honest. So here is the honest truth: I don't want to be pregnant. This is not to say that I don't EVER want to be pregnant. Just, at this time of my life, that is not what I have in mind. Now, I understand that the Big Guy Upstairs sometimes has different plans. And I will follow with that plan wholeheartedly when the time comes, but my agency comes into play here and that's the truth. So, I was scared. I was scared that this next step of my life was beginning before I was ready. I was scared that I hadn't lost the weight that I wanted to before the we chose to start a family. I was scared that I would have to stop teaching.
And I felt guilty.
I felt guilty because I was scared.
Isn't that wrong?
I shouldn't have to feel guilty for feeling that way.
And I realized that the guilt that was overpassing me was a multitude of many things: the pressure I feel from my culture, the loss of letting go of one part of my life, etc.
That guilt then turned into thinking. A lot of thinking.
Which, has, then come here. My haven for my thoughts.

My last intention is to offend anyone who has decided (or not decided and got some surprise!) babies. I am sorry if you feel that way. Everyone gets to decide when, how, and where they want to have their babies. That is the beauty of being a human in this world. I think it is, also, simply wonderful. I am currently sitting next to my dear friend who is 21 who has a baby. Yes, that's young. But guess what? Good for her. I love her and her baby. 
There are so many benefits to having children young. Your body can recover so much quicker, you have more energy, you are not as set in your ways. I think young mothers are awesome. 
With that being said, I think it's time that us young married women without babies to speak up. Or maybe, well, I just want to speak up. 

1. We Ain't No Followers.
I would get mad at my students for the grammatical error if they wrote that. But, it just works right now, okay? Let me have it.
Just because there is pressure does not mean that we will follow it.
Yes, I am aware that I live in an LDS culture and thus means there is pressure to have lots of kids. Having children very young is more prevalent in the area that I live. However, I have many friends who are engaged, married and have young kids who are not LDS. I think that whether you are super religious or not, there is pressure to have children quickly.
I think it is FANTASTIC that these women, who are good, faithful, kind women want to bring children in the world. You all are doing amazing things.
I also want to point out that this pressure I feel isn't necessarily anyone's fault.
A lot of times I don't feel any specific pressure from one person. In fact, often, people don't even say things, but it's the pressure that I just feel from around me. I look around and see everyone pregnant and a little thing in my head, naturally, goes, "Wait…should I be doing that too?" I think it's human nature. But I have to remember that every family is different. And we don't have to start ours just because everyone else is.

2. Having No Children Does Not Mean We are Less Busy. 
I love my career. Being a 6th grade teacher, I spend about 50 hours a week, prepping, grading, planning in my classroom. I think about my "babies" in my class all of the time. I work my butt off as my job. I work my butt off in my church. I work my butt off on my personal self. I work my butt off to live a lively, worthwhile life. Just because there are no children in my life does not mean I just sit around and do nothing. I am very busy…it's just a different kind of busy.
One of my biggest pet peeves is not being taken seriously in my family. This is something that I have expressed to them countless times. I feel like, in a way, that people assume that I am less busy just because I don't have children. And it's frustrating. Yes, I understand that I don't understand the exhaustion that comes from having a newborn, or the constant worry about if your children are doing what they are supposed to. But I am busy with what I am doing in my life now. Isn't that how it's supposed to be?

3. We still like children.
Oh man. If you could only fathom how much I love children.
Every morning I have to say hi to the little ones at school because they are just so innocent and cute. They are so themselves and it's such a wonderful thing. I love my nieces and nephews, cousins, in laws, etc. So much that, in fact, some days I'd rather spend time with kids than adults.
I love babies.
I love children.
Lots of love.

4. Some Of Us Take Care of Other Things; Just Not Babies. 
Like I stated before, I am constantly taking care of my students often.
I take care of my puppy.
I take care of my young women.
I take care of my neighbors, friends, and family checking in with on a regular basis.
I take care of my husband (er, clean up after him!). Let's be honest, he's sort of like a kid, right?
I don't just think of myself all of the time. As much as it may seem that way, I don't.

5. Having Children After a Couple Years of Marriage Will Not Make Me a Worse Mother.
That's all I have to say about that.
Having a baby after 2 months of marriage doesn't mean you'll be a terrible mother.
Having a baby after ten years doesn't mean you'll be a terrible mother.
I think we all just try our best. I really do.
And I don't think us not having children now will deter me from being a loving, available, fantastic mother.

6. We can still be nurturing, loving women.
As some of you may now, I feel things so deeply. I love people more than anything in the world (and sometimes I can't stand anything less than people! But that's besides the point). I love my family, nieces, nephews, in laws, husband, doggy (excuse me…our puppy child….oh wait, we do have a child! I forgot!), my students, my coworkers, my ward family, my young women, so incredibly much. I am, naturally, a pretty nurturing person. Just because I don't have a baby to nurture does not mean that these qualities are not possessed in me. I show them in many, many different sources in my life. How wonderful that this is something that I can work on now, huh?

7. Mid Twenties is still young.
I turn 24 next week.
In Mormon world, that's normal time to have a baby.
In Nonmormon world, I should just be getting into a serious relationship; MAYBE thinking about marriage.
Guess what. I do what I want. And that's the beauty of it.
I'm young. I got many baby making years ahead of me.

8. The decision to have a baby is incredibly personal.
You don't know the reasons why people are not having children.
They could be struggling in their marriage, they could be trying for three years and you have no idea. Someone could be struggling with mental illness. There are a million different reasons why a couple may not have children. It is not our place to judge and it is not our place to even ask.

9. We are not selfish because we choose to wait to have children.
Some may, ask: "Well, do you just like…want to travel and stuff…."
Yes. Thats exactly right. T Money and I are SUPER young. We have our whole lives ahead of us. There are things that we want and NEED to do before we have children. I want to keep teaching. Tanner has six years of school left. We have a long journey ahead of us. We are in no hurry.
With that being said, I don't believe that makes us selfish. In fact, I think that makes us selfless in some ways.
I want to be an emotionally available mother.  I want to be available to my children in all facets. There are some things that I believe I need to learn before a little one is in my arms. I have felt that feeling from the Lord and from the knowledge of understanding myself. I am not ready. And what a blessing to know that the little one will come when we (God, Tanner and I) all know I am ready.

10. We will have children at some point.
And even someone chooses not to have them…guess what? That's okay, too.
I cannot wait to have the opportunity to be a mother. I hope one day that I can be the same loyal, hardworking mother as I am in my career.  I cannot wait to have children. But I don't think that anyone has the right to judge how or when someone makes that decision..
When the time comes, whether that being tomorrow or in three years or in ten years, I love that it's a personal decision between me, my husband and the Lord. And I will open my heart completely when that step comes.  (Watch….I'll be pregnant next month! Zing! hahaha).
But for now. I am so happy with where I'm at :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Chores & Some Serious Sparkly Savings.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Labor Day Weekend was so awesome for so many reasons:
-I had today off from teaching.
-I got to sleep in.
-I spent time with many family and friends.
-It was perfect sunny weather that was not too hot or too cold.

Here's the thing, though.
During the week, I am so swamped that I don't have time to do errands or chores. My only day to do them is Saturday. And we all know how crazy busy Saturdays are at the grocery store, mall, car shops, etc. So. I thought that I would get some things done this Labor Day.
So much for a lack of labor, eh?

One of the main things I focused on was cleaning my apartment. My apartment is so teeny (helloooo 700 sq. ft. We Love it!)  that we have to clean it often otherwise it looks like a disaster.
I went on a dishwashing cleaner frenzy today. While at Walmart, I was trying to find the cheapest, best dishwasher detergent there and I found Finish in the Detergent Aisle. 

I got home and sighed at the look of my kitchen.
I woke up this morning and T Money had made himself some pancakes. Which is awesome. Except the fact that getting syrup off a plate is not fun at all.
So, here's what I did. I put as many dishes in my dishwasher, including this lovely plate from T Money's breakfast, and put in my Finish Dishwashing Detergent.

I want to show you all the process of this special plate. (Mostly because I love my dishes. Aren't they cute?!)

Here's the before (and during):

And after putting Finish Powerball detergent in my dishwasher, here is the end result:

Amazing, huh?! 
I didn't have to do any of the work. It was so nice not to have to worry about this as I finished picking up clothes and doing my other chores. I am so grateful for good products that my cleaning life easier. 
My favorite part about this plate is that the flowers tend to hide some of the "ugliness" of food, but the detergent completely got it off. That's what I'm talking about!
I did so many dishes today because of the amazing #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias Finish Dishwashing Detergent

Also, it is your lucky day because Walmart has a Rollback for Finish Dishwashing product going until October that can be paired with a coupon for amazing savings.  (See sidebar of this blog as well!). You can use this coupon until the end of September. And it will be up on my blog! Yes. Who doesn't love discounts?! 

Pick some up today!
You can come help me clean too. Anytime. Really. I love company. :)