No Power, Wet Pants, and a Smile

I work at at a bounce house place in the mall called Jump In. It’s full of bounce houses, obstacle courses, slides, and more. It’s actually kind of a fun place to work. Part of my job (depending on if I’m opening or closing) is to inflate/deflate all of the bounce houses. I opened today so basically I just had to plug everything in. Super simple….right? Well, I have a story for you. Haha. I got to work today, on time, counted my register, scooted all the benches back to their spots, and then started going around and plugging everything in. I got all of the “jump side” ones done and headed over to Gravity Zone. I plugged in the big slide, went and kicked all of the foam back into the pits, and went back down to plug in the last two toys in. The blowers started up and then stopped. “Oh great,” I thought. “Stupid fuse.” I ran up back to the front counter, looked at the clock (5 mins to open), grabbed the keys, and sprinted to the back again. As soon as I got into the utility room, my brain completely forgot what  switch it was. I frantically started to flip every little thing – the lights went on and off, the fans on the other toys turned off and then back on, the heater went dead…. It was madness!! I called my manager to see if she remembered which one it was. She just told me to flip everything, so I did, again. I finally found it. I flipped it and the two fans behind me started back up. Whew… I turned to walk away and POP! they went dead again. I flipped it again but this time I waited. It popped again. I didn’t have time for this!! I knew I was running behind. I looked at the time on my phone. Yikes! I was supposed to open three minutes ago! I finally just decided not to mess with it anymore, locked the room back up, and walked away. I ended up putting a sign up telling people to not go over there. That was so much easier. I called my boss and explained the problem. He told me that he would come take a look at it. I was just glad that I didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

Because it’s been snowy outside, we like having a mop up next to the counter. It’s nice to keep the front clean from all the icky stuff that gets tracked in. I like to grab my mop and bucket before I even open the gate. As you know,I opened today, so that was on my list of things to do. With all the craziness dealing with the power, I couldn’t do it before the gate went up. As I unlocked the gate to pull it up, I hoped and prayed that I would be able to go and get my mop before anyone came in. I finished with the front stuff and ran to the back again. I put the hose in the wheelie bucket and turned it on. For some reason, the hose wasn’t all the way in the bucket… Water started coming out of the hose, moved a little, and splashed against the side, getting me and the wall soaked. Really?! There was now a puddle of water on the floor and dripping from the wall. I was already cold but now I was wet. My shoe was squishy and I had water spots all down the front of me. I was a mess. I wanted to be done. I wanted go home. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I hadn’t even been there for the whole first hour of my shift yet before any of this happened! I wiped up the water around the bucket and off of me the best I could and then wheeled the mop up to the front. Just as I got back up to my counter, a cute little family came in. I took a deep breath and smiled. That was all it took to make my day better. Just one smile.

We get to choose what kind of day it will be. Our attitude determines the outcome. That’s pretty amazing. My dad always tells me that if you choose to have a crappy day, it will be exactly that. Same thing happens if you choose to have a happy one. We have the power to make it what we want. With that smile, I had decided to not let the crummy morning I was having ruin my day. Because of that choice, my day went great! I enjoyed my shift at work, I got a lot of things done there and at home, and most importantly, I was happy. I agree that some days you just need one of those “not my day” days, but rarely. Before my transplant, I used to decide to have several of them quite close together often.  I learned quickly that I didn’t like it. I felt miserable, I felt icky,and no one liked being around me. Heck, I didn’t like being around myself! I decided that I needed to choose to be happy. From then on I have decided to smile at whatever comes my way, be an optimist, and have a wonderful day!

#PotterHead4Always

All my life I have been able to experience what I like to call “all in” syndrome. That’s when you stumble across something new. You love it so much and can’t think or talk about anything else! It’s usually books, movies, television shows, or music. I can categorize my life into stages of what I’ve been obsessed with. Taylor Swift, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Broadway Musicals, How I Met Your Mother, Les Miserables (the movie), High School Musical, Friends, Lost, Tom Hiddleston… Believe me, the list goes on and on. During these “all in” stages, I pick up on really random facts and store them in my head forever. They never leave! Like for instance, I bet you didn’t know that Benedict Cumberbatch’s (Sherlock and Dr. Strange) full name was Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch or that Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) had a broken arm during season 10 of Supernatural because he insisted on doing his own stunts or that Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) actually hung from the bottom of his TARDIS for the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who because David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) was going to be there and Matt wanted to show off. See?! Weird facts no one wants to hear about! Haha! I have a great appreciation for all of my past and current obsessions.

As I’ve phased in and out of my different obsessions, one has always stuck. Harry Potter. Always! I love the books! I love the movies! (Yes I know that they are so different from each other and yes it bugs me that movies can’t follow the books exactly but I appreciate them as separate things.) I love HP so much! I’ve read all the books – even the silly short stories that J.K. Rowling has written to go with the actual series. I’ve taken all of the Pottermore quizzes. I was sorted into Ravenclaw. My wand is Cedar wood, 10 1/2 inches, dragon heart-string core, pliant flexibility. My Patronus is a Ragdoll Cat. Buzzfeed quizzes have told me that my best friend would be Neville and Luna. My boyfriend would be Neville or Malfoy. My personality is usually Luna or Hermione. Yeah, I’m kind of  crazy. Hahaha.

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For Christmas, I really wanted the two new books that she’s written. They are screenplays so it’s a different layout but it’s still HP, so I had to have it. It was kind of a late addition to my Christmas list so I wasn’t expecting to be able to read them Christmas morning. When Lewis handed me a box, that after multiple layers of wrapping paper, turned out to be the books I was dying to have, I almost lost it. I was sooo excited to read them. I started Fantastic Beasts that day but kept getting distracted with all of the traditions and festivities that were happening around me.

Before Lewis was scheduled to go back to Utah, he decided that he was going to take me to the new Harry Potter move – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I thought that was a wonderful idea because, Harry Potter! I told him that we could go but I wanted to finish the book first. I’m weird like that. By the Wednesday after Christmas I was almost done with Fantastic Beasts. I said goodnight to my family and then stayed up to finish it. I was having mental breakdowns after I was done reading it. For moments like this, I’m so very grateful for my friend Arie…. These are just some of the texts between us that night:

Me at about 1:30 am: “Okay, so i fell asleep on the couch at like 9…. Lewis woke my up around 11ish so I could go to bed for real. Haven’t been able to fall back asleep since I got to my own bed. So what do I do? Well, I just finished Fatastic Beasts! BEST. BOOK EVER. ;)”

Her: “ISN’T IT AMAZING!?!” 

(Then we talked about things that happened but just in case you haven’t seen/read it yet I won’t say anything.)

After talk about the events in the book, I said. “I really want to start The Cursed Child but I know that I do there will be NO chance of any sleep ever until I’m done with it…”

A few hours later, I’m halfway through the book freaking out at her still. Thankfully, she had come home late from work and had to get up early the next morning for her play she was in so she was staying up all night, so she was emotionally there for me. Hahah! I came across the biggest plot twist and told her what part I was at.

Her: BREATHE

Me: I CAN’T I HAVE ONE ACT LEFT AND THEN IT’S ALL OVER

Her: JUST BREATHE!!1

Me: *Deep breaths….

Her: You’re not breathing are you….?

Me: Nope. Just hyperventilating

Her: ….figured

At 6:22 am, I sent this final text: I’M DONE!! IT WAS INCREDIBLE! AHHHHHHH! I’m falling asleep so I’ll freak out about it with you in a few hours. Goodnight! 

Her: Hahaha! Goodnight. 

Arie posted this on my FB wall that same morning we had spent all night texting.
Arie posted this on my FB wall that same morning we had spent all night texting. She said, “Us the last 8 hours! XD”

I had finished the Cursed Child, a 308 page book in just under four hours! It was great. I woke back up a few hours later and went upstairs. Lewis was already up. He pulled me in for a hug and a kiss, asking how I slept. I started laughing. “I didn’t,” I said. “I finished my books instead.” Wide eyed stare. “O-okay… Now you can start on the next one.” “No I can’t I finished that one already too. That’s the one I read last night…in four hours.” “It hasn’t been a whole week yet. You’re crazy!” He kissed me again. Even after two years, you’d think he’d be used to how fast I read books.

A few days later Lewis took me to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Eddie Redmayne is my current hollywood heartthrob so it was so wonderful to look at him for a few hours. 😉

fantastic-beasts-review-21nov16And the best part?! It was just like the book. Granted, the book was the screenplay for the movie, but it was a wonderful experience that the movie followed the book exactly! I was kind of a little more than enthusiastic when something would happen “just like it did in the book” and I could tell Lewis was trying really hard not to be annoyed with me. It’s a good thing he loves me so much right! Haha. Oh, I am so grateful that no matter how old I am or what staged of life I’m in, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome me home.

P.S. I just realized that this movie was the first movie I watched this year (we went and saw it on January 2) so that means that 2017 is going to be magical, right?

Unoriginal Post About My Personal List of New Years Resolutions

Hi everyone! It’s been a while… I know I say this pretty much every time I post, but I will try to do better. I really actually want to this time. It’s one of my resolutions with the new year. 😉 Everyone always says “New year, new me” and I don’t like it. It just bugs me for some reason. I understand what it means. We all have to change at some point. I mean, I’m not the same person I was a year ago but I think it bugs me because even though I have had experiences that have changed who I am, I’m still me. I don’t know if that makes sense to you but it does in my head. So, instead of “New year, new me” I’m changing it to “New year, improved me.” Yeah, I like that so much better. That way it doesn’t feel like I’m not me but I can still grow if I let myself do so.

Part of “New year, improved me” includes:

  • blogging/posting more – even if it’s just silly nonsense that has happened
  • not worrying so much about all of the “what ifs” that are contently around me – I am a planner and always end up worried about every possible scenario and, thankfully, my wonderful sweetheart that helps me have perspective and calms me down from my little spirals of anxiety
  • take more pictures – I love pictures, but I just don’t take enough of them. Example: Lewis was here with my family the last two weeks so he could spend Christmas/New Years with me. Two weeks. Festive traditions, Christmas morning, Dates, Friend meetups, Family stuff… How many pictures? I think I counted a total of nine or ten, maybe?! Sure I remember the day when we had some time to waste so we went and said hi to one of my friends while she was working….but that would have been great to get some pictures of! This one’s pretty high on my list of things to improve on. I think a big contributor is because of my heart transplant journey. I don’t remember much of anything before and quite awhile after…mostly because of all the drugs I was on during recovery. There’s a good fourish months of my life that I don’t really remember. Mom and Dad took a lot of pictures and because I’ve heard the stories associated with each of the pictures so much, it’s nice to “remember” what happened. That’s why I want to take more pictures. Pictures are important to capture memories.

There are a few more on the list but those are the top three. I hope that by next year everyone will be sick of my blog updates, I will be a little better at controlling my “what if tornadoes of worry”, and that I will need to get a couple more sd cards to hold all my pictures! 2017, it’s nice to meet you! *cheers*

Memories and Promptings

Good morning everyone. This is just going to be a quick little post. I have the TimeHop app on my phone (it’s an app that is synced with all your social media accounts and give you “on this day __ years ago” memories. It’s one of my favorites!) Anyway. as part of my morning routine, I always look at it before getting out of bed. I opened it up this morning and this picture popped up:

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I felt prompted to post this memory on my Facebook and Instagram. I don’t know the meaning of why I felt like I needed to but I did. I posted the memory with this caption: “I’m not sure why, but I felt like I needed to post this picture today….along with my testimony. I know that we are given trials for a reason. What’s the reason though? Why is life so hard sometimes? I believe it’s because Heavenly Father loves us. What? That doesn’t make sense! Why would a God who loves make us go through hard things? Well, it’s because without those hard times, we wouldn’t become the people our Father knows we are capable of becoming. Sometimes we need a little push. I am so grateful for every single trial and struggle in my life. They all have helped shape me into me. I’m glad I have a wonderful Father in Heaven who has my best interest in mind.  #longpost #testimony #blessedfromtrials

Maybe I have a fb friend or someone follows me on insta that needed a little boost today… Or maybe I was the one that needed a reminder of how blessed I am. I don’t know. All I know is that I was told by the Holy Ghost that someone needed to see it. I know that when we follow the Spirit, we are blessed with more opportunities to listen to Him. I am so glad that I was able to recognize this little prompting. Love you all and hope you have a magnificent day!!

Squeaky cheese!

Wait…What? Squeaky cheese…. No!! Not cheese! Clean! Squeaky clean! Do you know how happy I am to know these words apply to me!?!?!

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Last week, my mom and I went to my favorite place in the whole wide world: the hospital! Yup, we went for a routine biopsy. Things went really well and the doctors kept using a word that has NEVER EVER been used to describe me. The kept saying everything looked normal! What?! Yeah!! Everything looked so normal and clean that they told me that I don’t have to come back until November for my next biopsy….AND I get to drop one of my meds!!

Because of my med drop, I got the “go ahead” to pierce my ears! Because I work at Claire’s, I know that everything would be safe, clean, and they would do a great job. I was definitely not disappointed. My friend Andrea did an awesome job! I’m really glad I didn’t chicken out! 😀

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Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend! <3

Adventures with the Squad

Guys!! I have a squad!! Yay! Go me!! Haha!! We do so much together…at least we try. I’m so glad that I get to call you my friends, guys! College and work is crazy but you help me stay sane……..er. ;).

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I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this one before but this is the only picture I have with everyone.

Lewis has been gone this summer so it’s been weird without him but it’s still fun. (Lewis is doing summer sales with his friend. He’s been traveling to Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado… I sure miss him.)

Let’s see… We all went to see Captain America: Civil War a few weeks ago and out for Panda Express. #TeamCap!

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For my birthday, we all got together and celebrated. Aleks and Olivia made me a cake. We ate lots of cake, watched Tangled, (my favorite Disney movie!), and Olivia cut my hair! Oh and we Skyped with Adrian and Aleks’ parents!

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Last week we decided that we needed to go on a picnic. After church yesterday we all met up at the guys’ apartment. We made sandwiches, watched Studio C sketches on YouTube, made cookies, and ate the sandwiches while waiting for the cookies. We drove to Sugar City Park. So pretty!! We ate, laughed, fed the seagulls, played on the swings, rolled down the hills, and learned Spanish. (That last one was mostly Olivia and I. We were trying to say leaves and accidentally said love handles instead. So now my favorite thing to say is “Yo amo tus lonjas!!” Hahaha!)

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We’re a group made up entirely of couples… It’s weird when one of us is gone. The lonely one immediately turn into a fifth wheel

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So much stuff!

Holy cow! There has been so much happening since I blog last! Let’s start from the last post.

April 21, 2016

Okay, so three years ago on this day, I was able to receive an angel heart and get a second chance at life! I can’t believe it’s been three years already. It’s so crazy. I was able to go home the weekend before my heart-aversary. That same weekend was the same as Mom’s birthday. We just squished them together and that was so great!

As tradition, we released pretty bright red balloons.

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I had to go back to Utah for school that week, so on my actual heart-aversary I was with my friends. We went to the store and bought the same kind of bright red balloons. We also picked up some little toys to drop off at the hospital for a group “pay it forward.” We all piled into Lewis’s car and drove up to Primary Children’s. What a fun place to pay tribute, huh? 😉

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April 28 – May 6

This week was a fun one! Lewis’s family invited me to come with them on their cruise to the Bahamas! Oh.My.Gosh. It was so much fun. We all got sunburnded, ate so much yummy food, laughed until we cried, made lots of new friends, and created so many great memories! I was so grateful that the Bowen’s let me be part of their family for the week. (More pictures to come… I’ll give more stories and details in a later post.)

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May 5

Okay, this was the day that we got off the boat but this was by far my favorite day of the trip. We left the boat early that morning so we had several hours to kill before we could go to our hotel. The whole family piled into the car, went to the movies and had the whole theater to ourselves, and then went to dinner. After dinner, we walked over to a really pretty fountian across the parkinglont of the resturant. We took pictures and when we were finished, we just kinda stood there staring at each other. A few seconds of awkward silence, Lewis took my hand to lead me away from everyone else. He thanked me for coming with him on the trip. He told me he loved me. He told me he was grateful to have me in his life. On the word “grateful” he dropped onto one knee and pulled out a ring box. He told me that I had stolen his heart and then asked me if I would keep it forever. Obviously, because I’m head over heels in love with this man, I said yes!! <3 It was so cute! He stumbled over the words in his proposal, I cried, his whole family cheered. His dad called me an idiot for saying yes and his youngest brother shouted “I’m gonna be an uncle!!” Of course, we all freaked out and laughed. Cinco De Mayo is never going to be just Mexican Independance or my brother’s birthday anymore! I’m so glad that my true love wants me to be his for ever!!

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3rd Annual Exam

We went to Salt Lake last week for Sarah’s annual post-transplant exam. It included two days of tests with a right and left heart catheterization, heart biopsy, EKG, x-ray, labs, echo and clinic visit. We went with worries clouding our thoughts, but tried to hold onto positivity as we entered the hospital. Besides the normal nervousness, we found out last week that two children we know who received hearts the same year Sarah did both have coronary artery disease, heart failure, and are listed for re-transplantation. Kelsen is separated from his brand new baby sister (and recovering mommy) as he lives in the hospital now until another new heart is available. Owen is living (with his mommy) in the CVICU in critical condition, far from stable, and has been moved to status 1A while he continues to fight. This news made us so sad, and a little worried about Sarah’s heart, considering the severe rejection and heart failure she experienced last fall.

We’re happy, grateful, and somewhat humbled to report that Sarah’s heart is still happy. Her rejection is as good as gone. The doctors at UofU said her biopsy was “negative” so we’ll take that as a “healthy, all clear, clean, and happy.” (For the “it-doesn’t-mean-anything-to-me-without-the-number” people like me, her biopsy results were: C1 V2 ISHLT0R pAmr1.) I know that doesn’t look like nothing, but you’ll remember that 1 (and 0) means none and 2 is very mild (and they usually don’t do anything to treat it). So, although it may not really look clean, a “negative” biopsy is what’s in the files! And, we believe the doctors with the files. 😉

Cath0516Her coronary arteries are clean, clear and beautiful. Her pressures were were described as great. I’m still in awe when I watch the monitor during her echoes and see a beautiful four-chambered heart working perfectly. They didn’t have final reports on many of the other tests at clinic, but everything else looked good! They are starting to decrease her prednesone (steroid) again, just a little at a time. We’ll go again in July for another biopsy to make sure the lower dose (down 5mg by then) isn’t causing more rejection. They want to bring her down at least another 5mg, but she hasn’t had the best luck with that in the past, so we’ll take it slow and check things out along the way. She still needs to go in for a check on her liver, a cancer screening with a dermatologist, and an annual “girl exam” in the coming months to make sure everything else is healthy too. With a compromised immune system, it’s super important to have these other things checked annually to make sure there are no problems elsewhere. Not the most exciting plans this summer, but we’ll just have to make my June and July trips to Salt Lake into super fun girl-time shopping trips with a little splash of doctor slipped in.

This past week I’ve been thinking…. This world of medically-fragile children we entered 23 years ago is a vortex of emotion. It’s filled with tears of sadness and joy, prayers of comfort and gratitude, moments of hope and despair. And often, like last Tuesday, there’s a tinge of guilt that clouds the happy news of stable and good health. Just as we absorbed the great news that Sarah’s heart is, in fact healthy again, I saw a Facebook post of about our little friend Owen that his mommy was waiting outside the OR to see if the doctors were able to save him following cardiac arrest. My heart hurt, and as I said a quiet prayer for her, I also added my gratitude that my daughter is healthy. …And then there was the guilt…. (It reminded me of the feeling I felt years ago in the NICU when our baby got to go home and so many others didn’t.) I can’t figure out why it so hard for me to keep those things separated in my mind and heart…. My happiness and gratitude have no connection to her pain and despair. Yet, my happiness somehow felt inappropriate in my heart, even though I know in my brain that it isn’t. It’s a compassion conflict that I’ll have to keep working on. Probably always. As long as there are abundant blessings in my life and people around me struggling…..

sharp34-everything-will-be-okay-in-the-end.-if-it-sharp39-s-not-okay-it-sharp39-s-not-the-end.-sharp34-plus-an-interview-with-amie-valpone-of-the-healthy-apple-about-living-positively-with-lyme-disease.I am so very grateful for Sarah’s good health, her beautiful future, and her gift of life. I pray for it to continue, and that her journey will continue to have countless happy reports. I also pray for Owen and Kelsen and their families, that they’ll have the strength and hope to endure their individual difficult journeys. We have learned that the collective power of faith and prayer is powerful. Please join me. Pray for acceptance, for comfort, for hope, for love, for health…for whatever God has in store for them…. This is one of the many inspirational quotes I have hanging on my bedroom wall.  I love it. Whatever the struggle is, just keep hanging on until it’s okay.

~Julia

Pay It Forward

SeanMcGrath2Sarah was given an extraordinary gift three years ago… a second chance to live life. The miracle of a perfect angel heart given among grief and loss of a loved one on April 21, 2013 changed our daughter’s life forever. We hope to honor the life of her anonymous donor by encouraging all who can to “pay it forward” with a random act of kindness in Sarah’s name. We hope this sharing of love will have far-reaching effects.

photo credit: Sean McGrath

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work I Go

After almost a year and a half of living in Salt Lake, I finally have a job. On top of that….I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I work at Claire’s in the City Creek Mall. Its about a ten minute walk from where I live so that’s nice. I have been learning how to open, ring up customers, do returns and exchanges, report damages, piercings, freights, deposits/bank stuff, and close. It’s been super fun. Since I’ve started, I’ve had the opportunity to work 9 hour shifts, slow days, really busy days, and normal days. I can’t decide which days or hours I like best. They all have they’re own pros and cons.

The girls I work with are so great. They are all super sweet and helpful when I have questions or mess up. I really love working with all of them! We all have different personalities, obviously, but we get along pretty well together. (I haven’t experienced any drama yet… Haha!) We were having a conversation the other day about how different all of our styles are and how great that is for our clients. If they know what style they are looking for, they can come and talk to the one that has similar taste. It’s cool.

This was are Easter picture that we sent to the Big Boss. :D
This was are Easter picture that we sent to the District Manager. 😀

 

I have pierced so many little ears already, too! On one of my shifts, a little sister of someone I was piercing pointed out to her mom that I didn’t have my ears pierced. Another time, a little girl asked if it hurt to get the earrings put in. And another little one asked how old I was when I got mine pierced. Last week, I decided that I probably should get my own ears pierced… I told my co-worker and she got so excited. She told me that she wanted to be the one to do it. The next day, an older girl came in to get hers done. I asked her how old she was and she replied, “14.” I smiled and said, “You’re going to have to tell me if it hurts… I’m thinking about getting mine pierced soon.” She asked how old I was and I told her that I was 22. She giggled and told me that she would report back. With that, I finished her up and she wandered around the store for a little while. When she was done, I met her at the register to ring her up. I asked how they felt now. She told me that they were a little sore but that it was worth it and that I defiantly should do it! That was it. I figured, if I can have millions of shots/ivs/pokes, chest tubes, and a freaking heart transplant, that I could handle a dinky little piercing gun. I was going to do it last weekend (all six of us were there and the others wanted to watch and be moral support) but I remembered that I had a biopsy that next week. So now the plan is to have Maddie pierce my ears this weekend when the store gets slow! Yay!!

School is still going well. I really like the two classes I’m in. Megan is leaving to go back home when the semester is over. She got her mission call!! She’s going to Paraguay! I am so excited for her, but I sure am going to miss her.

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With her being gone, I will get a new roommate. One of my best friends from Idaho is coming down to start the med program at LDSBC, so we’re both hoping she’ll be my new roommie. If not, fingers are crossed that I will get my own room which might actually be good because I’m never going to be home. I signed up for 10 credits next semester plus I’ll be working part time. Hopefully I won’t die. Haha.

Lewis and I are still going strong. We celebrated our first year anniversary last month. It’s crazy how fast time goes when you’re head over heals in love with someone. I still get butterflies in my tummy when he smiles. Sure love him lots.

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So, there’s a quick update on my life. Have a fabulous week!! 😀