Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wish Upon A Star!

I love linky parties. They introduce me to a whole new world of bloggers that I would have never ever found if not for these ingenious online parties. This one comes from Brittany over at love stitched

It's a wish list party! 

want (thinks I've been wanting for a while now) 
Vera Bradley Buttercup tote. 

(image source)
A super cute, really adorable recipe book like this one from Antropologie (click the image source link to go buy one for yourself!) (I think I could really just make one of these for myself, but I've been drooling over this one for a while now. )

(image source) 
A nice pair of lululemon wunder under crops. Or a pair of their run inspire crops. 

wish (things I would need to save my pennies for) 

(image source)
A digital SLR camera. A nikon D90 would be divine. 

Michael Kors Women's rose gold watch (divine) 

(image source) 
Cirrus Duvet Cover in grey from Antro 

dream (maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to have these!) 

A cute little farm house with a huge wrap around porch. 

(image source) 
A Temple Marriage :) 

A black Range Rover Sport. How gorgeous is that vehicle???

What's on your list?! 

Finding my faith - part 3

This is the third part to my conversion story! If you missed part 1 go here and if you missed the second part go here :) Thanks dude! 

After a few weeks of prodding (on Elder Albright's part) and lame excuses about 'plans on a Sunday' (on my part), I finally mustered up the courage to go to Church. If we're being honest, one of the only reasons I got up and went was because I didn't want to have to tell Elder Albright that I missed Church. 

Saturday night before I got ready for bed, I called my mom. I had prayed about it and thought about it and wanted to tell her about going to Church. I adore my mom and want nothing more than to make her proud. I have no idea why I was so nervous about telling her but it took me about 10 minutes of staring at my phone's screen for me to actually call her. At first, she was hesitant. She didn't know much about the Church besides what she had heard in the media. I explained that there was not a lot of truth to how the Church was portrayed and that it was really a great and amazing place to be. She had been pushing me to get back to church, any church, for a while now so I think in the end, she was happy that I had finally started the process of finding my own faith. She wished me luck and told me to call her after Church. So now, I had two people counting on a full report on how Church was. I couldn't NOT go again! 

I got up that morning and drove the 10-ish miles to the chapel. I was a nervous wreck. My heart was racing and I was so overwhelmed. When I got there, I actually pulled into the parking lot adjacent to the chapel so I could get some composure and calm down. I sat in the car asking for the strength to walk into that Church even though I was terrified. My social anxiety was rearing it's ugly head. Again. 

Then, I felt this sense of calm. I suddenly knew I could do it. I listened to that little nudge, turned my car on and drove into the right parking lot this time. Getting out of the car and having to endure the 'who's the new girl' stares (I'm sure the stares were all in my mind. I'm certain none of the members were looking at me negatively.) I was awkwardly walking around, hoping I appeared to fit in. I really hate it when all of the attention is on me and I had a feeling that the attention would actually be on me when I didn't want it. 

I (awkwardly again) wandered into the chapel when I (literally) ran into a missionary. Elder Riley was possible the nicest person I had ever met. You could tell he had a strong testimony and a pure spirit right off the bat. He is (was, he's home now) an amazing missionary. I introduced myself and gave a quick recap of how I came to be standing there that day. Elder Riley introduced me to a man (we'll call him Brother R) that taught the investigator classes. Brother R agreed to let me sit with him and his family during sacrament and started asking me questions. I was a little overwhelmed at that moment, but I tried to calm myself down and listen to his questions and answers. Brother R was a really nice man. 

He asked if I would stay for the other 2 hours and I agreed. The entire time I was in Sacrament, I was so in awe. I didn't know what it was then, but looking back I know I felt the Spirit that day. So strongly. Like it was telling me that I had finally found the right place. The rest of Church was great too. I felt a little awkward some of the time but that was my own fault for being so gosh darn shy. Oh well, they loved me any ways! To this day, Brother R jokes about how I just showed up one day and never left! :)

Elder Riley caught me after Relief Society and asked if there was a time they could come over and meet with me. I agreed, of course, and we set up a time for later in the week. I left Church leaving excited and hopeful and all these positive emotions that I had never had before in Church. 

What do you mean I don't leave for 2 weeks?!

First, let's get a few things out of the way. Once I tell you two facts about me, this entire post will make complete sense. First, I worry about pretty much everything. Worry isn't quite the word I'm looking for...stress...I stress over things. The second is that I get overwhelmed quickly when it comes to huge decisions/life changes/moving. Give me a panty bar to straighten or a fuming donor and I'm cool as a cucumber but when it comes to my personal life? I'm a slight mess sometimes. 

Now that you understand me, I can continue on with my story. I leave Michigan in 10 days (it's still really weird to think I'm moving so far away). I have to pack up my entire life, a dog, and a mom into my Escape and drive a whole lot of miles. Instant stress. The whole packing thing has got me worried. I attempted to begin packing my car today. I've already got pretty much everything in boxes from my Grand Rapids move, but I was still feeling way overwhelmed. 

I stopped. Then, Kelly and my mom came to my rescue (as always). My mom is a packing queen and she was bound and determined to get all of my stuff into my car. And wouldn't you know it, she did! I still have a bunch of stuff to fit, but we managed to fit all of the big stuff I wanted with me!!! 

 Thirty minutes later my car looked like this: 
Mom's magical packing skills

Charlie even got his own bedroom!
It just reminded me that I have to continue to have faith in myself, the people around me and in Heavenly Father. I was sure taught a lesson tonight: never underestimate the power of a mother. 

There's only a slight problem. I don't actually leave for another 10 days! My car is ready now and frankly, so am I! It's going to be hard driving around with these in my car, knowing that my adventure is so so so close. 

Oh, and to make today even better, we added a new family member to the household! Meet my nephew Frederick James Blueblood III: 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finding My Faith - Part 2

This is the second part of my conversion story. If you missed the first part, go here

So last time, I talked about Amanda and how she introduced me to the Church. I wanted to take a moment in this part to kind of explain my background before I pick up where I left off. I was born and raised in the Lutheran Church. My mom taught Sunday school and took us to church pretty much every single Sunday. Every summer I went to church camp, vacation Bible school, and other church activities. When I was going into the 8th grade, my parents got a divorce. I handled it as well as any 12-year-old could handle it. When people at our church found out they turned on my mother. They said and did some mean and nasty things to and about her. She stopped going. It also turned me off to organized religion as well. I still believed in God and was a very spiritual person. I could never really find a place to belong after I lost my first church home. I couldn't stomach going back there. I couldn't believe in a Church that allowed their congregation to act in the manner that they did. 

I've always had trouble with my faith. My soul hungered for a relationship with God. I knew He was there, waiting for me but I could never really grasp it fully. I'd go through spurts of reading the Bible every day and then not touching it for months. I just couldn't get into it. I could never really feel the Spirit for long periods of time. It was so frustrating sometimes. I wanted this relationship so badly but I couldn't feel it strongly. 

My freshman year of college, I attended one service at a Lutheran church near campus and had a really bad experience. It wasn't really negative, but it wasn't positive either. Not on person said anything to me. Not even the pastor. I didn't feel very welcome. Once again, I was disappointed in organized religion and stopped searching. 

So, back to the night I found the Missionaries. After a few technical glitches, I found myself talking to a missionary named Elder Albright. His passion about the Gospel really impressed me. He was patient with me from the very first time we spoke. I don't remember what he taught me specifically on that first night but I do remember praying for the first time in a very long time and it finally feeling right. 

Over the next few weeks I quietly began learning from Elder Albright, talking with him online for an hour at a time and finally finding peace. Finally, one day, he asked me if I'd like to get a visit from the Missionaries in my area. I agreed. Then, I got cold feet. I was living with 3 girls at the time and I was afraid of what they would think if they came home and 2 missionares were sitting with me. At that time, my faith was beginning to grow but it was still very fragile and I admit I was afraid of what people would say. I was afraid that my faith couldn't take the challenges I knew my roommates would throw my way. I was still in that 'I don't know if this is the one true Church' phase. I decided to ask them if we could meet at the Church building instead. They agreed and set up an appointment. The day came and went and I chickened out. I didn't go. I ignored the Elder's phone calls. I'm really ashamed of the way I acted but I was scared. I was scared that I was going to be faced with spiritual disappointment once again and I didn't know if my faith could withstand another disappointment. 

I also started to ignore Elder Albright and even Amanda. I had told her about my investigating the Church and she was ecstatic. I've made some pretty poor decisions in my life, but this one took the cake. I shut down over the next few weeks and refused to listen to what my heart was telling me. I refused to listen to the promptings. 

That summer, I went to Boston with my sister and mom to visit colleges for Kelly. We stayed outside of the city and drove in when we had college visits. Every single time we drove in and out we drove right past the Boston Temple. Every time, my heart tugged in a way that I didn't really understand. I began to think about what I had learned and how right it had felt. I began to think about the missionaries, Elder Albright, and Amanda and how poorly I had treated them weeks before. 

I didn't have one of those huge, inspired, 'ah ha' moments. I didn't even have one of those quiet realizations while I was deep in prayer. It was just something I felt. I couldn't get the Temple off of my mind. 

When I got back from Boston, I emailed Elder Albright and Amanda and apologized for how I had acted and tried to explain myself. I was so happy that neither of them were mad at me and quickly said they were happy that I was back asking questions. Elder Albright began to teach me again. Amanda and I started to catch up again. I was still to chicken to meet with the missionaries in person though. In August, I moved into my own apartment and finally felt free. I began learning from Elder Albright more and more and he had started to encourage me to go to Church on Sunday. 

Go to Church? All by myself? To a place where I knew no one? I'd done that before and it had crashed and burned. Again, I was afraid that my faith couldn't handle another disappointment. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Today I am thankful for a Prophet

On June 27, 1844 the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum were martyred by an angry mob in Carthage Jail where the Prophet was being held.

I haven't really sat and pondered about his martyrdom all that much before but today it struck me a little hard. Joseph Smith is a man who died for his religion. He died doing what he knew was right. He knew that what he was doing was unpopular but he did it anyway because he knew that it is what Heavenly Father wanted him to be doing. He made the ultimate sacrifice for me so that I could be blessed with the knowledge of the restored gospel. Joseph Smith listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and did what was asked for him, despite how scared he might have been.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland offers an amazing Testimony of our Prophet:
"[Joseph Smith's] life asked and answered the question 'Do you believe God speaks to man?' In all else that he accomplished in his brief 38 and a half years, Joseph left us above all else the resolute legacy of divine revelation—not a single, isolated revelation without evidence or consequence, and not 'a mild sort of inspiration seeping into the minds of all good people' everywhere, but specific, documented, ongoing directions from God. As a good friend and faithful LDS scholar has succinctly put it, 'At a time when the origins of Christianity were under assault by the forces of Enlightenment rationality, Joseph Smith [unequivocally and singlehandedly] returned modern Christianity to its origins in revelation" (Ensign, 2004) 
I have a strong testimony of our Prophet Joseph Smith. He was given the responsibility to restore the Gospel to this earth in these latter days and did it with an amazing conviction and passion that Heavenly Father knew he had. Joseph Smith was a modern day prophet that was given the authority to do what he did. I know that beginning with him and up until this very moment, there has been an unbroken line of prophets that have been called by God and put on this Earth to guide all of the children of God to ensure they can come back home one day. I am so thankful for what this man has done for me and my future children. I am so thankful for the sacrifices he made so that I can be happy and for his very presence on this earth. I am so very thankful for his obedience, passion and conviction to doing what is right and what Heavenly Father wants him to do.

Finding My Faith - part 1

This is going to be the first of a few posts...a series, if you will, about how I came to know about The Restored Gospel, Heavenly Father, and his plan for our salvation here on this earth. I've wanted to get this written down for a while and I figured I'd start now so I won't forget again. 

I can remember driving down Woodward as a kid and thinking to myself 'wow, that's a really pretty building' as we drove past the Detroit, Michigan Temple. I had no clue what it was or how precious it would become to me. All I knew is that I got this sense of wonder and awe every time I drove to work with my mom and we passed the building. 

Flash forward to my senior year of high school. I'm in Mr. Chandler's 3rd hour (maybe it was 4th but I think it was 3rd) AP US History class. I was a shy kid and tended to keep to myself, so I didn't really have that many friends. By sheer luck and chance I ended up choosing a spot next to a girl named Amanda. She was quiet and reserved like me and we hit it off right away. I got to know Amanda and got to know what was happening in her life. In December, she met a guy. I still remember hearing her tell me the story of how they met at her uncle's Christmas party and how she had gotten into a fight with her mom or something and this boy offered to give her a ride home. He was a member of the Church and soon enough they were dating and he was taking her to Church. 

I graduated and we lost touch. I was 3 hours away and she was still in high school. I went through a lot of heavy stuff my freshman year and got pretty lost for a while. I made some bad decisions and was in a really dark place for a while. I didn't really have any hope at that moment and felt so far away from God that I often wondered if I would ever be able to find my way back into his presence. 

When she was 18, she was baptised and applied to BYU-I. I was shocked when I heard that she was going to school in Idaho. Over the next few months I watched (via Facebook creeping) as she grew and blossomed into this amazing, strong young woman. Somewhere deep inside, I knew it was The Church that was responsible for her happiness. 

Why am I telling Amanda's story in a story that is supposed to belong to me? Well, Amanda's story is linked to mine.  I watched a girl do something that I could never dream of doing at her age. I watched her meet her husband, fall in love, and get married. I regret not going to their reception in Michigan to this day. 

Flash forward again to 2 summers ago (2009) and I'm doing my homework late one night at school. I'd always been intrigued by the LDS Church and had been wandering over to for a few months before and was curious. I hadn't really done more than look at the front page, wonder a little, then stuff the wondering feeling into the back of my mind and continue about my day.

So, back to the night at hand. I was seriously avoiding doing my homework and was just staring at the homepage. I noticed a little sidebar that said 'chat with a missionary'. That really had me wondering. My mouse hovered over the button as I contemplated clicking it. Should I do it? What would it really be like? What would happen if I talked to them? Questions zoomed in and out of my head as I suddenly felt this intense urge to learn more.

I clicked it and that one little leap of faith ended up changing my life. 

The last few weeks...

Have gone by in a flash! Seriously. I have no clue where the time went...I'm down to TWO weeks left here in good old Michigan. I'm fighting a daily battle with my emotions. Excitement has me one second and the next I'm scared. Not once, though, have I had one single second thought. I know, without a shadow of a doubt that moving to Utah is what I'm supposed to be doing. My entire life is waiting for me I just have to get to it! 

Okay! So! The last few weeks have been a little nutty and I've been meaning to get an update up for a few days now. I figured tonight was as good a night as any because everyone is already in bed and I'm a little too wired to relax and go to sleep just yet. (besides, I never make it to bed before 2am anyway...) 

adorable adorable adorable 
This adorable puppy is Mika! My Aunt Jenny, Uncle Jon and cousin Shelby adopted her last weekend and the day before father's day my mom and I went over to meet the new addition. Isn't she just all sorts of cuteness?! 

We like to goof off while we're waiting for food
My sister and I had lunch with our dad this past week and, as always, my dad wanted to go to Hunter House. If you live in Michigan and have never had Hunter house, well you're missing out. They make the best (and greasiest) burgers in Michigan and its just...amazing...

I have a particular affection for Lake Michigan. For 3 years, I lived literally 15 minutes from the lake and would go out there when boy's stressed me out, when school stressed me out, or whenever I was generally stressed out (which was a lot, surprisingly...) Saturday, we had a graduation party to go to in Kalamazoo (I'll get to that in a second) that wasn't until later, so I decided that we should go to Grand Haven before so I could bid Lake Michigan good-bye one last time. I was excited to see there was a art fair in Grand Haven too! I seemed to have picked a wonderful day! I got some souvenirs to remind me of home and the wonderful sweatshirt you see above (it's actually white, not yellow like it looks like in the picture.) I liked it because I'm moving to SALT LAKE...and my shirt says unsalted...Isn't that funny guys?! (crickets) Well, I thought it was ironic and funny ;) 

Barn Party! 

Sterling's graduation party was later on. Let me tell you something about Ms. Sterling. She's amazing. I mean, I don't think I've liked any of Kelly's friends more than I like Sterling. She's from Kalamazoo so she was a border at Cranbrook. I think she spent every single weekend at our house, sleeping on 'trundie', eating with us, going to Kelly's hockey games, and generally becoming another sister. She is so mature beyond her years and I think I might miss her just about as much as I'll miss Kelly when I leave. 

So whats next? Well I've got a list a mile long of things I want to do before I leave The D...we've got Frankenmuth next weekend (helloooooo all you can eat chicken dinner!!) I'm going to go drive around the town I grew up in a few towns over and visit the houses I lived in, maybe walk around my elementary school play ground a while. We're going to make a trek downtown to go to the original coney islands and to Slow's BBQ (Which my mom and sister say is the best BBQ in Michigan) and generally stock up on some great memories. 

I'm sure there will be plenty of pictures to share 

And then...on July 8th...I'm off! Me, Charlie, mom and all of my belongings that can be crammed into the Escape are off on the 2,000 mile journey to Utah! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

twenty days

I leave for Utah in a measly twenty days. 


To say I'm getting a little nervous would be an understatement. 

I've had zero second thoughts though. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A New Obsession!

Let's face it kids: 

I'm a social media junkie. 

I love Twitter, Facebook, name it, I love it. 

Which brings me to my newest obsession:! It's an online inspiration board tool. You created boards with themes (like weddings, home decor, get the idea) and then you share them with the world. 

It's. Really. Cool. 

So, if you're not on pinterest, GET THERE. (I have invites for you if you'd like! Just leave me your email in the comments and I'll send one over!) and if you are, let me know! I need more people to follow. 

You can find my own little pinterest here!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Smile Because It Happened

This week was one of the most crazy, sad, happy, fun and emotionally charged weeks that I've had in a while. 

Wednesday was my sister's very last prom ever. It was all so bittersweet. She's growing up. I'm growing up. We're going our separate ways in a few months but I know that won't really be a bad thing. She's my sister and we'll always have each other. 

Prom day was sweltering. I mean 95* and humid sweltering. The boys were dying in their tuxes but they were troopers. Not one person fainted! They took pictures at the gardens that are on their campus. Kelly goes to a private school that also has one of the best art museums in Detroit and gorgeous grounds. Sometimes, I think I'm actually in Hogwarts when I'm on campus. Anyway, they took pictures on the grounds and they were beautiful


Kelly and her date Mike. Literally the cutest couple on this earth. 

This picture is probably my favorite picture ever of us. We're ridiculous. 

Thursday was senior awards night. I didn't stay long because it was way hot and I was getting way cranky. BUT! I did get a chance to meet a friend of my sister's big sister who goes to BYU and we exchanged numbers and all that! So I might already have a friend in Utah! 

Friday was graduation day. There was a luncheon before the girls graduation. At Cranbrook, the girls and the boys have separate graduation ceremonies. It's a tradition that was started when the boys and girls were separated and never really interacted. If there is one thing I love about Cranbrook, it's how closely their traditions are followed and how respected the history of the school is. They have a special ceremony for when the juniors get their class rings. The graduation class hands down the 'power' to the juniors and entrusts them with the designation of 'senior class'. It's pretty cool. 

The ceremony was held in the Church on campus which was phenomenal. I cried several times. 

After the ceremony, mother nature surprised us with a torrential downpour and we were forced to take pictures in the rain. It was okay though. 

Sassy McSassy 

These girls have the most amazing friendship. 

She managed to look gorgeous in the shapeless white robe. I don't know how she does it. 

I'm so proud of her. 

  I still can't believe that she's going to college. I have my college degree. In less than a month, I'll be living in Utah. I know it sounds cliche, but I really can't wait to see what life is going to throw at me. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Watch Out Donald Trump

This weekend I took a big step in prepping for my move out to Utah. I've been thinking about this step for a while now and finally felt right about making the decision. After a lot of prayer and thinking I've decided to...

Get my Utah Real Estate License! 

Which is slightly ironic since not 2 weeks ago I was gushing about how I was never ever ever going to have to study for another test again. That'll teach me to keep my mouth shut. 

I chose a program that is 100% online so I could do my courses from Michigan and hopefully be able to take the certification test when I get to Utah! 

Why real estate? I know it seems like a random thing. Especially since I have my degree already and have wanted to do some agency work. But really, real estate is in my blood. My mom's been in real estate for over 10 years and when my grandma was working, she was the top selling agent in her office. I've grown up around it and have learned a lot from my mom prior to these classes. One of my favorite things to do is go online and look at houses for sale. I know it is going to be rough and that agents don't typically start making real money for like a year but I'm prepared to work another job while I cultivate my clientele and reputation. 

I've done 2 chapter already and got 100% on both of the chapter finals :) 

I'm so excited about this because this is the first time that I've felt really 
confident about my abilities in a while. 

So Donald Trump better watch his back. ;) 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Reminding Myself To Be Kind

Okay. So. There's been a lot of negativity going around lately. People jumping on other's beliefs, their personalities, everything and I (sadly) found myself drawn into an argument that I had no business being involved in and shouldn't have put my 2 cents in. I did though. And I regret it. 

I reminded myself that I took this pledge to be nice and supportive. I just wanted to put the button to the blogger pledge below and remind myself (and my readers if they're so inclined) what I had promised to do. 

I pledge to: 

create, inspire, and admire rather than compete with fellow bloggers

be understanding of each other-- in the blogging community, as well as in the world

stay away from internet/blogging bullying

speak my opinion freely, while still being mindful of other's feelings-- be tactful.

make an effort--no matter how big or small the gesture, to spread kindness or joy to others

acknowledge that I will make mistakes, (I am only human) but remember to learn from them
know that at times I will post about the negative stuff in life, and maybe even some complaining (I am only human) but I will always follow up with something happy/positive too.

believe that this world is a good place, filled with good people.