Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sometimes I Just Forget...

Sometimes I just forget to share what I am so incredibly grateful for.

Gratitude can REALLY (physically) fill your heart, like to overflowing.  When it does, there is no place for anything else.  I know, because for a while there I made room for things other than gratitude, love, and charity.  It hurt.  But sometimes hurt and heartache can carve out a piece of your heart for greater things.  I feel that.  I will never understand how the capacity of your heart can change, but ooh am I so grateful it can. It is kind of overwhelming sometimes.  I choose the gratitude and love type of overwhelmed over the selfishness and poor me overwhelmed!  That's what I have learned recently.  It was necessary, it was hard, and I trust more, deeper, and in an entirely new way.

Here are a few things that have filled my heart recently.

1. These people.

 Running with so many wonderful friends!

There is so much more.  I do know from where true joy comes.  Faith.  A perfect brightness of hope through Jesus Christ.  Sometimes the brightness doesn't seem perfect but the light is there and we just have to open our hearts to it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Phases of Life

Yesterday my little nephew Zeke was baptized.  Thus starting a new phase in his life and in his parent's lives.  They now have two sons who have made covenants, who from now on are accountable for their actions.  I love how these little children who I am so close to are growing strong in the faith and are being taught by their able parents and grandparents.  I hope in some small way I have an influence for good as well.  Their little personalities and spirits are flourishing.   Yet this is a new stage for our family, there aren't just babies toddling around anymore, there are big kids.

My older sister Tiffany, Zeke's mom, got married just off her mission.  She was 24 years old,  I was 22.  I loved the new phase our family moved into, we now had an in-law.  We were no longer the Larson 6, we were growing.  My best friend in the world also got married around this time too.  It was a fun and exciting time.

Then about 3 years later, my baby sister who was 5 years younger than me and had been my best friend for the year we were together at BYU-Idaho got engaged.  It just worked out for her.  This threw off the natural progression of the Larson family and threw my role as big sister, best friend, confidant, and protector out the window.  Selfishly, I struggled for a bit.  It was really hard for me mostly because I felt as if I was losing my best friend, I was next in line and It was my turn.  This was a test for me, was I going to be upset, hurt, annoyed?  Or happy, friendly, and kind?  I chose the latter course, and came to love the new adventure of my little sister.  I realized I wasn't losing my best friend, I was actually gaining another friend through her.   It just took me a while to be ok with this.

One and a half years later, my little brother, the sibling just younger than me got engaged.  Leaving me, the lone soldier in the Larson family.  No big deal!  This was a time of change for my family. There were lots of new additions, including nieces and nephews who were quite exciting and entertaining for all of us.  I knew my position in life and I was confident in it.  I didn't feel too far behind everyone else.  Certainly the time could come soon for me to join in this new stage of life.  In the meantime, I would enjoy all the fun I was having traveling the world, planning grand adventures, meeting fun people, learning and growing in my job.  It was even enjoyable  planning and participating in everyone else s progress.  I was happy with my perspective and attitude about life and was making the very most of it.  

The Larson Family in 2008

More time went by.  
Even more time went by.  Progress in the things that count was being made in everyone's lives.  More kiddos, more adventures with school and moving, buying houses, two extended families to balance holidays.  More feeling babies grow inside of you, but not me.  More mini vans.  More of what I had envisioned my life would be.  The more I progress the more my heart wants to be in a different "phase of life" but it just hasn't happened for me, and most days it is ok.  

My "phase of life" has remained similar for the last 5, 8, 10 years.  Yes.  That is true.  However, the Me has not remained the same.  I have changed, I have grown, I have progressed with my siblings and friends and their families.  So at times when I get caught up in the woe is me aspect of life, I have to realize that phases of life are not defined by what you think you should have, they are defined by who you are.  



Thursday, July 17, 2014


Here I go.  I am officially a cougar, not as in looking for younger men, although... maybe I'm that type of cougar too (within reason).

But what I really mean is I AM A BYU COUGAR.  Not just a little BYU-Idaho Cub anymore.  Yeah for me and lots of money, and lots of long hours, and lots of sleepless nights worrying about papers and projects and grades and presentations.

I'm excited and nervous.  It's funny all of the high school insecurities have crept up in my mind recently.  Silly.  I'm so past that and this is a whole new ball game, but something about school just makes me a little nervous.  But I FEEL SO EXCITED TO LEARN.

I have been admitted to the BYU EMPA program.  AKA Master of Public Administration.  Kind of like an MBA but for the non-profit sector i.e. Churches, government, etc.

The end.

Wish me all sorts of luck.   I'm going to need it.

My Celebratory Selfie - I sure know how to pull those excited faces.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

10 Tell Tell Signs You Are A Career COBer

How you know you are a career COBer. 
1. You know every secret tunnel passage from every building on the square. 
2. When you see a General Authority, you don't follow them and try to indiscriminately take a photo of them to post on Instagram. 
3. You have the cafeteria menu memorized including the daily special schedule.  
4.  You know the exact week the tulips are pulled up.  Sad sad day! 
5. You know the acronym for every department, meeting, committee, Church university, international and domestic area, and Initials of every General Authority. 
6.  You know who every single eligible male is on campus. 
7.  You've gone on a date with almost every single eligible male on campus. 
8.  You know the number of stairs between the main floor and your floor. 
9.  You know every employees preferred lunch table.  Don't you dare try to take their spot.
10.  You know all the sister missionaries and the countries they are from and their station schedule. 

And a bonus:

You know the average number of brides that are out and about on any given Bride Friday! 

Yes, I'm a career COBer.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my work on the square.  

I do love the cafeteria, I do love the flowers, I do love the spirit, I do love the tourists, I do love everything about it.  But most of all I love the people I work with.  I have made some wonderful friendships.  I wish I had photos of all of them, but I don't.  So this will have to suffice.  

Biggest Bride Friday yet,  the picture just doesn't do it justice, they were LINED UP, like 6 brides deep waiting for their turn on the stairs.  
 The most recent lunch group.  Jill, Stace, and Lizzy.
 Stephanie, Lizzy, Carolynn
Steph, Jill, Stace, Carolynn

Some wonderful people.

Today I ran into the boss who gave me my start at the COB.  We talked for a good while about how things were and how things are.  Thank you Jeff Bateson for giving me my start!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Effects.

I'm a grown up.

I got an ear infection.  I'm a grown up, this isn't supposed to happen.

I went to Instacare which I never do. But I did.

I was prescribed an antibiotic, amoxicillin.

I took the first dose of amoxicillin on Friday AM.

I was feeling better.

Early Sunday morning I woke up and felt a giant bump on my noggin (see it?) I even googled "large bump on forehead"  because google knows everything.  I made no conclusive self diagnosis.

After church I was still not feeling great because of the cold and ear infection that started this business.  So naturally, I took a nap.  When I awoke I noticed that my throat and chest felt tight, I wasn't too worried.  Just thought it was part of the cold.  THEN I LOOKED IN THE MIRROR.   The full effects of the drug were apparent.  Ooh my wow.

Dad said to call an ambulance.  I didn't panic that much but drove straight back to Instacare where they got me in pretty quickly.  Definitely didn't want to mess around with this one.  They gave me the epinephrin and benedryl stat and monitored me pretty closely for a bit.  Looking back it is funny, but for a minute there it scared me, mostly just the chest and throat tightness.  But I'm alive.

Somewhere between the years of 5 and 32 I developed an allergy to amoxicillin.

The effects in selfies (said in a high pitched valley girl voice):

Fat lip, swollen face, and bump on the head.  This is after the shot of Benedryl in the bum and dose of epinephrin.  I had to be monitored for an hour or so before they would let me leave.

Mom and Dad had to come get me and observe me over night.  Ooh to be 5 years old again.

Me trying to make it look better with a happy excited face.

The next day I was feeling better.  But the next day again new symptoms, hives all over my body.  It's kind of hard to see in this photo, but they were definitely glaring.  I think there is nothing more annoying than itchy feet and hands.

So. If anyone is around when I have a medical emergency.  Be sure to tell the paramedic peeps I'm allergic to Penicillin and all derivatives thereof.

The end!

At Least I Tri

Well... we were at it again.

I love organizing and planning this little event.  It's not really that big of a deal, but it is so much fun and I just love that everyone can do their best and there are no expectations what-so-ever.  Nothing gets me more than seeing people I love do something that they may have never thought they could do.  It makes my little heart happy.

Next year, do you want in?  You get a t-shirt and a Creamie!

Here's how it went down:
1.  We Swam.  Back stroke, doggie paddle, walk along the bottom, anything goes.

2. We biked.  After the killer couple miles up Sunnyside the rest was smooth sailing.  My favorite ride of the year, BY FAR!  
10 miles, we killed it.  The whole Otterstrom family did it.  Love them. 

 My daddio on the bike.
Missy & Lizzy Lou. 
3.  Then we ran.
Since I was in charge, I shortened the run a bit to 2.7 miles.  Typically we do 3 but there were a lot of factors in this decision, including lack of time to mark the course.  But still, a nice little finish.
 Shan, she killed it.  Me... I just look tired.

 Loved this moment.  My dad has never done anything like this, but he did so awesome!  It made him so happy and me too!
 Jamie, Melissa, & Lizzy finishing strong.
 NO EXCUSES.  Becky did it at 39.5 weeks pregnant.
 My favorite photo of the day.  Just because I see now why people think I have a hard time hugging.  I'm trying to be better.  TRYING hard.  If you see me, make me hug you!
 Kado with the squirt gun welcoming Addi into the finish.  She ran like a champ!
 The girlfriends and Kado (ladies man)!  It was bright, really really bright!

 Finishers, minus a few.  So fun.  We want more participants next year.  Who's in?
 This is just how I feel about the day.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I get frustrated with myself.  I get frustrated because I'm a wimp sometimes, but it's funny the situations I choose to be a wimp in, sleep outside all by myself, NO BIG DEAL.  I am just NOT risky at dare devil type of behavior.  So not what you would classify as a risk taker.  I am a bit more on the responsible side of the spectrum.  I am always going to bed when my friends are laughing and having a good time late into the night.  I like the responsible me, but sometimes I wish I could just let loose.  It's so hard and I try to force it and feel annoyed and get frustrated with myself because it just doesn't come natural. In my head I am the "Risk Management" of any situation.
Take for instance,  this night.

A random, "It snowed!  Let's go sledding" night. Totally normal thing to do.  But for me, there was a little twinge of anxiety when I thought about going.  But I went, I wanted to go.  All was great, until all involved decided to go down in a train.  I just couldn't do it.  I just thought about heads crashing and people flying and landing tattered and tangled in a heap at the bottom of the hill.  I volunteered to take the photo instead.  In that moment I HATED  THAT I AM LIKE THIS.  I have such a hard time letting the fun or excitement of a situation overtake me. There is always that little voice of common sense that triggers my "let's think about this for a moment.".  In the end I did end up going down the hill in a train, not because I necessarily wanted to, but because I didn't want to look like a wimp.  Peer pressured into it, yes.  But glad that I did it, yes.  Although not exhilarating for me, I went and I found out that it was ok.  No one died, no one was seriously injured.  While it wasn't necessarily my #1 way of going down the hill, it turned out to be kind of fun.

I am finding that the real risk comes when you allow the fear you may be feeling overtake you, overtake your heart and mind and not allow you to be who you need to be or want to be.  We all struggle with this to some degree, but we have to have faith.  In life we have to realize that sometimes you have to let the snow fly in your face and sometimes you may end up in a heap at the bottom of the hill.  But you tried it and with one tiny little slide down the hill, you placed the fear to the side and acted on your faith. And next time, you build on the faith of that first slide.  It's a process, sometimes a slow step by step process.  But you know, as I quickly analyzed the functionality of my body at the bottom of the hill in that heap, I realized I was whole.  I smiled and walked back up that hill and sled down again.  I liked me a little bit more in that moment.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Emotional Mess!

Women are emotional beings.  Women are sometimes emotional beings who seem to be a mess.  On one particularly emotional day, I apologized over and over again for my show of emotion.  Then I had a moment and questioned why I was apologizing so much.  What was I doing, these emotions were real and why was I trying to discredit them.  Women are emotional beings.  We just can't and shouldn't try to rid ourselves of this fact.  It is just the way it is and I am convinced that it is a blessing, not a curse.   Who we are is deliberate and calculated to help us obtain self-mastery.  A carefully crafted, beautifully manufactured emotional being.

 Why do we apologize for our tears at a happy or sad event?  Why do we shyly retreat when we may not be feeling up to our giddy selves?   Why do we pretend all is well when inside our hearts are going to burst?  Why do we say "I hate being such a girl" and try to convince ourselves we are flawed because we aren't stone faced and perfectly composed all of the time?

All within bounds, these emotions teach us how to feel, how to be, how to care, how to love.  When our vulnerability shows, others love us, because they, like us, are vulnerable too.

We are all beautiful emotional messes sometimes.

God created us, with emotions, with feelings, with hearts.  And I need to remember that in "those moments."

"Emotion is also a spiritual sense. Emotion in all of its expressions is an important and pervasive part of our spiritual being."
Elder Monte J. Brough

Perhaps in our current society the trigger for forgivness and apology should come when we are emotionless, not when we are full of emotion.  Maybe, just maybe, this is contributing to the confusion about who we really are, separate distinct individuals, male and female.  If we don't feel our sweet sensitive femininity then we don't know who we are and we can't use who we are to help others know who they are.  WE NEED TO FEEL.  Feel the Holy Ghost, feel our hearts, and feel for others.


I feel emotional about these sweet little things.


 I feel emotional about these fiesty young women.  Probably because they are extra emotional so I need to be on my emotional "A game" when I am with them. I just want the best for each of them. 

I feel emotional when I think about this day.  Emotional to the max at this very moment.   What I was feeling was real and deep and good for me to feel. I do love Jamie and Melissa.  They are great friends. Although, at the time they may have seriously doubted my heart on that fact.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I visited a good friend the other day.  Naturally we talk about relationships because well, sometimes that is what people want to know about me.  I get it, I'm used to it.  I'm not good at it, but I don't mind rehashing my years of failures in an attempt to figure "it" out.  Which recently, I've come to the conclusion, that there is no figuring "it" out.  It's like I've been working on the same Rubix Cube for 15 years and really if I haven't gotten it by now, somehow I don't know if I ever will. But I hear you never really figure it out, so there's hope.  I'm hanging onto that hope!

There are lots of different avenues to find love,  lots of them.  Some work for some, others work for others. I'm pretty mild in my approach, I've never really lacked in "options".  I have dated a lot, which I can't complain about.  

But for all you who are not currently playing the Game-O-Love, I want to introduce you, like I did my friend, to the latest and greatest in this business of love.   It is s an app called TINDER, now doesn't that just sound like love waiting to happen.  Tindering a little fire, ooh the metaphor.  Cleverly titled, yes, I agree.

You may have heard about this incident: TINDER EXPERIMENT from our own Happy Valley. This is a simple introduction to the possibilities of this $Free.99 app.  High 5 for love, right?

Here's how it works:  
It is the act of swiping through different profiles of the opposite sex to ultimately achieve a match.   You flick through very limited profiles of men within a certain radius where you can view a few pictures of them, along with your mutual friends and interests. It is as simple as swiping left if they don’t take your fancy and right if they do, if they feel the same then you are ‘matched’ and you can start a conversation. 

Naturally, my good friend was intrigued by the newest people matching option. After I talked her through all of the concerns that go along with meeting complete strangers (she's plagued with the KSL killer mentality) she started jumping on board the Tinder train, more out of curiosity than anything.  She was moving toward approval of the whole concept.  She's always looking out for me, ALWAYS.  And by looking out I mean any and every potential option is an option whether or not they should be or not.  Case in point.  The guy, not even the guy, but the voice on the other end of the Rocky Mountain Power hotline.  That is the extremity of her looking out for me, but I could name many, many, many more cases, but I will spare you.  I love this friend so I roll with it.  But to save my own sanity and avoid wasting my time and theirs, I have started at least questioning the potential dates credibility and how she can vouch for them, it's necessary. 

So I have never gone out with anyone on Tinder, which secretly I feel is a success because "I don't want to be one of them." but I'm trying to make an effort, because let's be honest this is the reality of my day, it's just how things are done.  I've heard of successes even weddings from this thing.  But, I am so not holding my breath. 

As I was swiping right and left on potentials or those who were far from potentials, I found myself thinking how ridiculous this is, yet at the same moment how genius this is.  Some people are weird.  Some people seem normal and may not be.  I may look normal on my profile, but am I?  But... what if it works? 

I just want you all to enjoy the entertainment I experience daily as I take a couple minutes to get my Tinder on.

Take for instance... The more normal type.  My swipe right options.
So, come along with me as we Tinderize.  First impressions, that's all you've got. 

Decent enough, not sure how I feel about the D-land comment.  I remember him from a previous ward.  - SWIPE RIGHT

38... that's a little high up there, but well... why not.  he's 1847 miles away so no pressure.  SWIPE RIGHT

Decent enough, not sure how I feel about the D-land comment.  I remember him from a previous ward.  - SWIPE RIGHT
He's the one on the right, looks older than 34.  But he likes traveling, outdoors, and triathlons.  Ok.  SWIPE RIGHT
38... that's a little high up there, but well... why not.  he's 1847 miles away so no pressure.  SWIPE RIGHT

Dr. Peter ,CAN DO and... PETER AND WENDY. Peter Pan, get it?   YEP, DONE DEALIO.  TO THE RIGHT.  Even though everyone in scrubs looks the same to me and I don't know what one you are. 
Matty,  Ooh I like snowshoeing.  I trust our mutual friend Angie.  Sure, to the RIGHT. 
Not generally into the bearded ones, but for some reason.  I'm willing to take a chance.  RIGHTY Oh. 
The Mormon Thing.  His button looks alittle tight on top, but other than that.  It's a go.  Littly Matty boy!  Give me a little RIGHT. 

I agree with him.   What a funny concept, and he likes his mom.  I hope it's his mom.   SWIPE RIGHT
Rexburg is in there.  I like Rexburg and the guitar. Bonus. SWIPE RIGHT
Sister?  Ex?  Not sure, but his description makes up for  it.... ooh but he's a baby,  I don't know.  OK, SWIPE RIGHT
Outdoorsy, a nice looking normal dog.  SURE, RIGHT IT IS. 

And the... LEFTIES. Wow.   I GIVE.  This is the reality...
Uh... SWIPE LEFT.  Too confident in his loveability. 
I'm not here to meet a dog.  To the LEFT to the LEFT!
Dylan, it's time to cut the apron strings.  Your momma looks like a nice lady, but you gotta make the break.  LEFT

Mark, I'm so glad you are calm, but if you need a constant reminder on your hand... probs not going to work for us. LEFTY LOU!
Um.. 28? Brian, really? 28? Let's recalculate... 68... 88? Quick Left!

Pretty sure I'm being cautions and will likely live longer with sanity if I avoid this one.  I'm sure you're a gem, but not willing to take the chance.  LEFT. 
Love Honest Abe.  But I love ears with only one hole.  Judgmental, yes.  But that's the name of THIS game. 

Your battle wounds will get no where with me.  End.  LEFTY LOU. 

Um... Hold please.  SAMUEL.. You're Married.  I'm Offended.  LEFT cannot come quick enough.  
Adorbs yes.  Fresh off the mission, ikely, TO THE LEFT. 

I love unicorns!!!! I mean really love them.  Wizards are pretty awesome too.  And dinosaurs.  And also ninja-turtles.  Basically everything mystical I love.

I had to edit a word out of his, hence the regular type.  Now if it was a joke or it wasn't, if you have one impression to make on someone, do you really want it to be about unicorns and wizards?  PEOPLE, there is so much more to life. 

Anyway, this is a little piece of me.