Monday, November 19, 2012

It’s been awhile…

It’s been an awful long time since I’ve updated my blog. This happens to be both painfully normal and abnormally unsatisfying. Allow me to explain:
1)     Normal- I never update my blog. Ok, never is too harsh of a word. I have a hard time of consistently updating my blog. Or maybe, I frequently do not update my blog. Yea, basically I struggle.
2)      Painfully- I want to blog. I really do. I think about good posting ideas. And then I even write posts in my head as I walk home/across campus. I just never put them in writing. Blogging time is so elusive that way.
3)      Unsatisfying- I want to blog. And then to have all these thoughts and discussions locked up in my head, it’s very disruptive. I mean think of it from my perspective. You have all these things you are thinking about saying and then never get them out because you’re too busy with school, work and everything else that claims your time. In the words of Mika “The things we left unsaid, are only taking space up in our head.” And some days, my head is very full.
4)      Abnormally- should one really be worried about not blogging? I would think not. But, who am I to make such a general assumption for a large population of half-bloggers (a group to which I belong).
I have nothing too notable happening. Well, except that I am feeling a sort of blog-arthis. or a blog catharsis. (Side note: I just looked up catharsis to make sure it really was the word I wanted to use… and I found that one of the definitions was cleansing or purging of the bowels… Totally using that from here on out.) Well, the definition was an emotional release brought about by an intense emotional experience. And that isn’t exactly the definition my 7th Grade English teacher taught us when we read the best-selling novel, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakower.
I did not have an intense emotional experience, like previously mentioned, but I do feel like I just want to put some things down in writing.
First: One word…
SUMMER. A word not typically shrouded in uneasiness. In fact in my previous years it’s been nothing but excitement. No school. Going home. Ecuador. Summer jobs. Did I mention no school? Anyway, this year it’s a little more complicated. I just have a lot of things happening. And I need a schedule. Not really until January… but, I am just the planning type. I love spontaneity. But, I like to have my feet under me while I’m running. If that makes any sense at all. (Side note: I am not uneasy for the much anticipated arrival of William Daybell. In fact I am quite the opposite. I can’t wait. In that aspect Summer 2013 can’t come soon enough.)
CANCER. My mom is officially cancer free. Raise the rough. Shout for joy. Or jump for it. Party like a rockstar. And any other phrase/ditty that seems appropriate for the situation. But, really. Holy cow. What a ride? I could not be any happier. And I am hoping with all of me that it remains gone. Or at least far far away… and never comes back. (Lion King, anyone?)
PEOPLE. Allow me to introduce some new people to the blogging sphere. I will most definitely be mentioning them in future posts. Emma. Jen. Kate. Jeff. Mason. Joe. Good friends. I hope to keep them around for a while.
MISSIONS. Aside from the obvious reason I might mention this… everyone is going. Not just boys but girls. And I mean everyone. I have had more invites to mission farewells than I did all freshman year. And that’s impressive because I was in TWO different wards. So, I got a lot of farewell invites. Don’t get me wrong, missions are awesome. In fact, missions are admirable. And wonderful and those who choose to serve have my utmost respect. It’s just, everyone is going.
MARRIAGE. If you’re not going on a mission… you’re engaged. Or newly married. Or having a baby. Again the institution of marriage is a wonderful blessed thing. But, when you’re not going on a mission, with no boyfriend (at least in the country) and everyone else is…
Anyway, Thanksgiving is coming up. I have much to be thankful for. And I fear that this blog has sounded very petty, and annoying and ungrateful. But, I promise I am so thankful. So very very thankful.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I love definitions. I feel like Webster really just says it best. As I looked up the definition of perspective for this post, I came across various definition. However, the one that fits best is was...

Perspective: a true understanding of the relative importance of things.

Too often we are flying through life in a high speed chase, rushing from deadline to deadline that even the smallest road bumps irritate us more than they should. 

For example, as I sat in the Doctor's office today my mom called me on the phone. As we sat there, just chatting away she began telling me how to talk to the Doctor. Immediately I was irritated. Did she not KNOW how old I was? I mean I'm 20. Surely if I can live across the country on my own, she doesn't think I am completely incompetent. I mean how hard is it to tell the Doctor your symptoms? In just a year and a half, I'll be a College Graduate. As my exasperation grew, she concluded her speech on what/how to talk to the Doctor. We concluded our conversation with me in a far worse mood than a sensible human being should have been in.

As I sat there and I put my phone down... I began to focus all my energy on my intelligence which had so effortlessly (and unintentionally) been insulted. As I began to think even harder on how "mature" I actually was (oh, the irony), my frustrations ensued. 

And then... like a giant slap to my face, I stopped. As I sat there, and took a step back I became instantly grateful. My mom is wonderful, I know that. You know that. My blog is dripping with those words. My mom is wonderful. But, even more than that... I have a mom. If there is one thing we take for granted it's family. The children who changed my life so effortlessly in Ecuador this Summer have no parents. They have no mom to take them to the doctor, and will never have an experience similar to the one I had today. 

My attitude became one of disappointment in the way I had handled the situation and grateful for the many blessings I take for granted on a daily basis. 

Perspective: a true understanding of the relative importance of things.

My caring mother with my best interest in mind. My inner frustrations at being an independent, twenty-one year old adult who can handle things herself. The millions of children who go without every single day. One of these is not like the other. 

Take the opportunity to step back. To check your perspective on even the simplest and smallest events in your life. Find what's important... and act on it. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


“The generality of mankind is lazy. What distinguishes men of genuine achievement from the rest of us is not so much their intellectual powers and aptitudes as their curiosity, their energy, their fullest use of their potentialities. Nobody really knows how smart or talented he is until he finds the incentives to use himself to the fullest. God has given us more than we know what to do with.” 

“There comes a moment in every life when the Universe presents you with an opportunity to rise to your potential. An open door that only requires the heart to walk through, seize it and hang on.
The choice is never simple. It’s never easy. It’s not supposed to be. But those who travel this path have always looked back and realized
that the test was always about the heart. ...The rest is just practice.”  

“Every moment has infinite potential. Every new moment contains for you possibilities that you can't possibly imagine. Every day is a blank page that you could fill with the most beautiful drawings.” 

“It is a denial of the divinity within us to doubt our potential and our possibilities.”  

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all
of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012


I've been doing a lot of "self discovery" these past few months. I know I haven't posted in awhile and it's not that I haven't had anything to post. Because, I have been so very blessed. My father found a job. My mother had her cancer removed and has begun radiation. My brother, cousin and I are all moved into our new apartments (and it looks BEAUTIFUL might I add). My younger brother is loving college. And my youngest brother is doing well in school. That only barely skims the surface. I have much to be thankful for. 

This, however, is a deeper personal reflection. And just like most everything else in my life lately, it has to do with Ecuador. I am sure everyone who lives close enough to hear my talk is sick of Ecuador. But, I am not. I miss what I had there. I miss those kids. I miss having purpose. I miss that unconditional love and the way a baby feels in your arms. I miss speaking spanish (however elementary my vocabulary was). I miss those two months more than I miss any other period of my life. 

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” -Steve Jobs

I am going to be a teacher. I love kids. I love teaching. I love that purpose that comes with waking up each morning and knowing that you might not be changing a life, but that you are impacting one. 

President Monson has said about teaching: 

"To you... who are administrators and teaches, you will stand before those who have struggled and saved and planned so that they might be your students. Treat them with dignity and provide them your very best. You not only teach a subject; you also mold human nature. You light the lamp of learning, that through your spirit,  your  faith,  and your love,  will bless generations yet to be born.  Your opportunities are NOT dissimilar to the Master Teacher, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

"Who is the teacher you remember from your youth? I would guess that in all probability it was the one who knew your name, who welcomed you to class, who was interested in you as a person, and who truly cared."

"The mark of a master teacher is indelible. It makes no difference whether or not he is teaching literature or mathematics or science or any other subject of the curriculum. He must win from his students faith that moves mountains. When he succeeds, near-mireacles happen. Suddenly a pupil is awakened to an enthusiastic interest in some aspect of learning and begins to read widely without being urged. Another discovers in himself powers that he did not know he had. Another decides to seek better companions. In a flash of inspiration, still another makes a decision that leads to a lifetime career."

After being in Ecuador I have a greater desire to serve and to help those that need it. I recognize how blessed I am and how ungratefully I have lived the past 20 years of my life. There are so many worldwide and even those in the United States that live so far below what I have always known as "normal." How ignorantly I lived until I saw. 

I know it is not my call in life to live in Ecuador and take care of those kids forever, as much as I wish that it was. There is more that I will be led to achieve and I can only pray it is as noble of a cause as taking care of those precious and perfect children. 

I hope that the remaining years I have at BYU I will be able to learn how to become the best teacher. I hope that through practice in the classroom I will one day be able to make an impact on student's lives. For it is so often that we forget our divine identity. We are not merely humans/people left to wander in confusion. I know I am a child of God. I know His hand is far more prevalent in my life than I ever had realized. And I know that there is no greater call than that of a teacher, mother, sister or friend. 

As I sat in Sunday School on Sunday, I found myself doodling on the notebook I bring to church. By the time I was finished I had come up with my own "quote." It read:
"Every person, no matter their age, race, religion, education, nationality or  social status IS a Child of God. Treat them like it. And remember you are NO different."

Those children in Ecuador changed my life and my mindset. I know it probably sounds silly, but I owe so much of what I am becoming to their sweet smiles, kindness and unconditional love. 

(I actually want to become fluent in Spanish and work at a Title II school. It's a new dream of mine. I love my brown babies. :)   ).

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Dreams are categorized in different ways. Some dreams are things we long for but are seemingly unachievable. While others are goals we hope to reach through hard work and practice. And the more literal kind of dream are the ones that occur when we close our eyes to sleep.

It is the sleeping dreams that I believe are the most personal. No one can ever really experience a dream of someone else. They may unknowingly be the subject of a dream or a minor character, but they can never really see or experience the alternate or ridiculously creative universe they were a part of for a brief period of time.

Except, there are occasionally dreams people have in which they claim the visitors have given them a very real message or reminder.

I had a dream last night. It was more or less the cause of an extensive day of thinking and talking about my babies. I had the opportunity to sit and share pictures and experiences with many loved ones. And my Angels were all that were on my mind the entire day. I longed to see one smile, feel one little hand in mine and give one kiss. And so my day went perfectly normal as I carried the memory of those perfect children, right where they belong, in my heart.

The last thing I looked at before I went to sleep was some of their pictures. They are getting so big! And growing so much! Some have moved to Casas, some have teeth, and others are walking!

I fell asleep and immediately through the memories of past... I was transported back to that place that has become somewhat of a safe haven for me, SVP. I walked up and down the halls. It was night time there and I just walked and reminisced. I went into Tres and saw a scene I had seen so many other times on night shifts, all my wonderful babies asleep in their cris. I picked up one and kissed him. I poked my head into Dos and reminded myself to come back for one special little boy and give him a hug. And then made my way into Uno and couldn't help but to smile at the teeny babies sleeping soundly.

And then my dream as usual, took a turn for the original. There were women there and they handed me one of the Tres kids (I wish I could use names!) and I felt his little sleepy head resting on my shoulder as I followed the women. I laid him down on a table and changed his diaper. I recalled his sweet laugh from a place far away and felt his fingers close around mine. (*hint for me remembering later this kid is an Angel!*)

I showered his face with kisses and placed him back in his crib. As I was being ushered out I quickly ran into Dos and lifted the other little boy from his crib. I smiled and he did his perfectly adorable, eyes closed and wide open mouth smile. I kissed him and held him close to me in a hug. I put him back in his crib and my dream began to do what they normally do best and transformed. Suddenly I was in the middle of an action packed dream where there were no familiar faces and no familiar faces.

But, as I woke up this morning I could not have been happier. My subconscious knew where I longed to be that day, and so, it projected a near perfect experience one that felt like reality at the time. I don't believe that I was doing anything other than having a good dream. Seeing their smiles and remembering a place I had been recently. And I loved every second I it. I felt compelled to enter it into my "online diary" so that on days when my whole being feels so drawn to them I can take comfort in knowing that access to those memories are only a nap away.

I am continually awed at the many things we take for granted. And most of them are as simple as a working brain that is wired in such a way that it can produce thoughts that begin to feel like reality. Just one more testament that we are children of a divine being, a King even, far greater than we could ever fathom.

And some recent pictures of the babies:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


The  Amazon was an ABSOLUTE blast. We hiked, swam, ate, played and even danced! The rooms we stayed in were beautiful! My only complaint was how hot it was. It was humid as its ever been and just so sweaty hot. I was dripping from the time I stepped off the boat… to the time we landed back in Quito and I could shower.

It was well worth the experience though. It was definitely once in a lifetime and I took full advantage of that!

The pictures tell the stories far better than I could ever articulate… So, I will let them do most of the talking in this post!

p.s these are ALL out of order?! Blogger messed up my order... So with no actual flow to my weekend in the Amazon... let's begin:
Maggots... or Grub. 

Yes. They are alive. 

Yes. Sam and I did each eat one. (Actual picture of that... coming later in the blog?!)

How I felt after... 

Kiss the cook!

About to float down the Amazon in our lifejacket diapers! :)
 We floated down part of the Amazon. We didn't see any alligator or snakes or anything!! It was SO awesome!! I loved every second of this trip!!
A night hike! Me, Janessa and Linnea. 

Us actually eating the grub. I love Sam's face. 

Arriving in the Amazon! Leah and Janessa. 

Riding on a really high truck... to take us to our canoe/boat that brought us to the lodge. 

Just monkey'n around. 

They loved her backpack! And just rummaged around! This is Brandi!!

Mikele and Leah! Thus begins our motorized canoe ride to the heart of the Amazon!! aka The Yachana Lodge!

They gave us a packed lunch. And my hair was going a lil crazy in the wind/humidity. 

The boat stopped for a bathroom break. It was a long boat ride!

I love my friend Leah. :)

These are kids from a local tribe/village a few minutes walk from the lodge we stayed at! I love Amazonian babies almost a much as my city, Ecuadorean babies!

Sam, Me and Janessa Hammocking. 

I LOVE SAM!! So pumped she's going to be in Provo!!!

Prettiest view EVER?

The random parrot who let us pick him up!

Abel took me on a spin on his motorbike!

A ginormous tree!!

Me and Sam arriving in the Amazon!

Just a scorpion on my face. NO BIG DEAL. 

Me and Janessa climbing the giant tree. This picture is US to a T. 

Or maybe this is more like us?! 

A cleansing ceremony from the Shaman. 

Just some war paint!

Learning to shoot blow guns... If things go south and I have to hunt/kill for my food at least I'm prepared!!

Some of my very best friends. 

Mikele and janessa and our warpaint. 

I could never learn to throw that dumb spear. So, I won't be as good of a hunter as I thought... darn. 

Another local boy. As you can tell.... we love kids. 

Teaching him American picture signs. :)

Wearing my backpack!

LOVE this girl.

We spent like 3 hours one night with the local kids... we taught them a bunch of american games. 

I have never been more happy anywhere. My two months in Ecuador were the best and happiest of my life. 

Nothing compares to being with these kids. 

She was adorable!!


More bathroom pictures. :)

One of our hikes. :)


Stretching the Earthworm out!

Photoshoot with our guide!!

Our beautiful Amazonian living quarters!!

Playing with the local kids... this is one of their games!!

Just riding the boat... it was our main form of transportation in the Amazon. And I loved that!!!
Ecuador holds my heart. The people. The children. The culture. The language. All of it. I can't wait to go back.