Thursday, August 20, 2015


Lately on social media I've seen a growing trend of girls, particularly the younger generation, become increasingly obsessed with "goals". Facebook, Instagram and twitter are full of people posting photos to make their lives look better than they actually are. And people fall for it! I constantly see girls comment on these photos: "Relationship goals!" "Feed goals!" "Body goals!" "Goals goals goals!!" Seriously? When did setting goals for yourself diminish to comparing yourself negatively to another person?

When you set a goal for yourself, your focus should be on YOU. Goals should stretch you to be your best self, not your best impression of someone else.  It's so destructive to waste your time wishing you were like someone else. I know because I do it all the time! I've always struggled with self comparison and social media doesn't seem to help with that. On the internet, it may look like people have it all, when in reality we only see what they choose to show.

Believe it or not, but behind all those flawless, white background Instagram photos we gush over with thousands of likes, are real people with real problems. They just choose not to post about them! You can't base a person's life off what they choose to post online and you can't compare your back scenes to their highlight reels! It's not going to get you anywhere.

It's so easy to compare ourselves to other people in this day and age because we're so wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. We're always on our smart phones or tablets checking  our feeds. There is so much good on social media but there's also so much competition! If we're constantly wanting to be like other people, we'll forget how awesome we actually are.

Back to goals: I think goals are great! This life is about becoming better and living up to our full potential. However, everyone is different and everyone will reach their goals at different times in their lives. That's okay! So many times I'll look at social media and think: "Man, everyone is married! Why am I not married yet?" "Everyone is having babies!" "Man, they are so successful! What am I doing wrong?" "They are so talented. I don't have any talents." "Why am I not doing that with my life?" I could be one of those girls that comments: "Goals goals goals!!"

But I'm realizing that I am doing my very best in life and that is what matters. I'm not going nowhere just because I'm not where I want to be yet. I don't need to be a copy of someone else, I just have to be my best self.

So for girls young and old, listen up! Be yourself and set your own goals. Don't compare yourself to strangers and acquaintances online. It's okay that you don't have hundreds of Instagram followers. It's okay that you don't have a so called thigh gap. It's okay that you're 24 and not married with babies yet. Your life is still good even though you don't travel around the world with your significant other. Your life is still good because you're living it and you are awesome!!

Don't let the voices of the world get you down. Be yourself and be happy!! And I will try to do the same. :)


Friday, June 5, 2015

The struggle real because life is real. But thank goodness God is real.

This past weekend was quite an adventure! Anyone who really knows me knows that I tend to find myself in some pretty ridiculous situations.. (maybe I'll write about those another time) This weekend was another one of those situations where I realized just how random my life is. But I also realized how blessed it is. :)

On Saturday morning I drove to Rexburg with my friend Jenessa and some people from her YSA ward. We also had some other friends following us in a separate car. The plan for the day was to hang out in Rexburg for a bit and then head over to hike the Darby wind caves which were an hour and a half away. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the trail started out nice and flat. :) I was thinking to myself, "Man, these are the kind of hikes I enjoy!" Little did I know what was coming..

Somewhere along the trail I ended up getting separated from my 2 friends I knew before the trip and was basically hiking with strangers! I was kinda bummed out because I had looked forward to spending time with them. But I enjoy getting to know new people so I tried to make the best of things. And there's nothing that brings people together quite like hiking does! Especially when it starts raining and you find yourself hiking through 2 feet of snow.. Yikes!

After a couple hours, the easy, spring hike I started turned out to be a 13 mile round trip through crazy weather conditions. (No one said anything about it being 13 miles!!) There were times I was basically crawling my way up through snowy, muddy paths hanging on to tree branches for support! I was cold, dirty, scared and wondering what in the heck I had gotten myself into! And with people I barely knew!

Yet after a particularly difficult section of the hike I had the sweetest impression  that God knew where I was and that He loved me. It was so comforting to know that even though I felt lost and afraid, I wasn't lost to Him. Besides the temple, I've always felt that the mountains are where I feel closest to God. There's something about being surrounded by God's creations, away from the world that makes me stop and focus on what matters most.

After that moment, we finally made it to the top and I was taken back by the most beautiful view! I couldn't believe I had made it that far and that I had made it there safely! To stay safe, my new friend Dev and I decided to not go in the cave. We waited for our other friend to come back out and help us down the mountain. Shortly before making our way down we heard thunder.. and we still had a 6 1/2 mile trip back down the mountain. Needless to say we were scared!

The trip back down was quite an adventure filled with sledding down the hill, sprinting through the mud and rain and trying not to get struck by lightening. (a couple of us came close.) But even though it was crazy and far from the ideal hiking experience, I actually had fun! I made some new friends, discovered new strengths of mine and most importantly made it back in one piece!

I realized that life is like that hike. At first our path can seem so easy and care free. We may even think we can do it on our own!  But along the way we can stumble and wander away from the path and away from people we know and love. Sometimes we make bad choices (like trying to hike the Darby wind caves in May) and we suffer the consequences of those choices. But Heavenly Father never leaves us alone. He gives us beautiful views to remind us of His love. He puts unexpected people in our path to help us on our journey.

Each of us has embarked on a journey by coming here to Earth and Heavenly Father wants us all to make it home safely to Him. Life is a test and it isn't meant to be easy. But it can be beautiful if we stop and recognize how much God does for us each day. On that day I saw God's hand in my life through a beautiful mountain view. I saw it when a new friend of mine grabbed my hand and helped me slide down the snowy hills so that we'd make it down faster. I saw it when a couple of other friends helped me get warmed up when I came back sopping wet and in shock. I saw it when I was able keep my calm and simply laugh at the situation I was in. :)

Sometimes in life the struggle is real because life is real. But you know what else? God is real. I'm so grateful for His constant hand in my life. I'm also grateful for all the people I got to know last weekend. Thanks for everything!



I just love the month of June! I love the long days and the cool evenings. I love watching all the flowers come up in my yard. I love that everything is green and the air is filled with a newness of life. I also love June because it reminds me of my Grandma Johnson.

Though I was only 8 years old when she died, she taught me so much about life. She was an artist and a writer and saw the world in such a beautiful way. She nurtured my creativity and had a designated art corner in her kitchen for the grand kids. That was my favorite place to be in her house. :) She grew up on a farm, raised by her grandparents and had a beautiful childhood. I loved hearing her stories and learning from her. I'm pretty sure she's the reason why I have such special connection and love of nature.

My grandma wrote beautiful poetry and after she died we found several hand typed copies of her poems. I love reading them and am finally getting around to typing them up! I want to make them in to a book. :) My absolute favorite poem of hers is titled, "June," Hence, the reason why June reminds me of her. 


by Fay Johnson

If you should come and I’m not home,
into the surge of June I’ve gone,
among the new mown hay to where
the fragrant smell of June is there.

If you should chance to lift my latch,
I may be among the berry patch.
Or somewhere along the columbine,
submerged by eye, by ear, and mind.

Perhaps I’m seeking the wild primrose,
or hearing the coo of the morning dove.
I may be hiding in the meadow trees
listening to its birds and bees.

If you should knock and I’m not there,
Remember that I’ve gone to where
the month of June with me will share
fullness of beauty captured rare.

Oh how I love the month of June. <3


Thursday, May 7, 2015

The faithful four and other thoughts

It's been two weeks now since my siblings and I were finally reunited after all serving missions at the same time. That's right, my family had FOUR missionaries out at once. :) And no, one of us were affected by the missionary age change. It just worked out this way! 6 out of the 7 kids in my families have served full time missions and I think that's pretty cool. :) If you want to read more about that, check out my mom's blog here.

This was us then..

And this is us now, just over 2 years later. :)

It's fun having us all home again and in a lot of ways it feels like we never left! I think we're all happier, more mature and more converted to the gospel but we're still the same quirky siblings we were before. :) Bethany, Mark and Matthew seemed to adjust to normal life right away. I on the other was very much still in "missionary mode" my first week back. I didn't like listening to the radio or watching TV, I kept the missionary schedule and I spent a lot of my free time doing chores around the house and reading church books. :) Which isn't a bad thing! I even went to work with my mom the first day back because I didn't want to be alone! Ha. But my siblings seemed to dive right back in to secular life. I guess I've always been the awkward one though.

It's fun going to church together and talking about our missions all the time. They appreciate my stories because they know what's it's like! We're all pretty close still and I'm very grateful for that. :)
I can't believe I've been home from my mission for 6 whole months!! But let me tell you, the past 6 months have been some of the happiest of my life. I've just been so blessed. :) 

I've also realized something these past 6 months. A lot of returned missionaries will say that they miss the spirit they felt on their mission. They make it sound like they'll never feel it the way they did ever again. But I've realized that just because I'm not longer a full time missionary, doesn't mean I can't still have the wonderful feelings and experiences I had on my mission! I definitely still have them.

I feel the missionary spirit when I make the time to study my scriptures everyday. When I stay study, I don't mean just reading a chapter and being done. I mean, really thinking about what I'm reading and how it applies to my life and then writing down the insights I've received. I've received wonderful insights since being home. Scripture study continues to be the best part of my day! 

I feel the missionary spirit when I go to the temple which is usually at least once a month. :) It's even more special when I bring family names.

I feel the missionary spirit when I perform my church calling as Sunday school teacher.

I feel the missionary spirit when I share my testimony with others.

I feel the missionary spirit when I participate in institute.

I feel the missionary spirit when I serve those around me, whether in big ways or small ways.

I feel the missionary spirit when I sing and listen to hymns.

I feel the missionary spirit when I write blog posts like this!

I've said it before and I'll say it again but I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ! I'm grateful for my family that helps me to live it more fully and are such good examples to me! Life is good and I am so blessed. :)


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Every good gift

One of my worst traits is that I tend to compare myself to others- usually comparing my weaknesses to their strengths. I think even worse than that however, is when I compare my strengths to their strengths! It makes me feel like my talents and skills aren't enough because someone else is better than me. And you know what? I'm sure the person I'm comparing myself to probably thinks the same thing about themselves sometimes! It's a vicious cycle! There will always be someone more skilled, more experienced and more talented than you. But.. they are not you. We all have different experiences that shape us into who we are. We're all on different levels and we're all still learning.

Instead of comparing myself to others I need to be grateful for the talents and gifts that God has given me. My patriarchal blessing tells me that I'm blessed with many talents and skills but sometimes I have a hard time believing that. I'll feel totally confident with my skills as a photographer until I look at someone else's pictures and envy their skills. I'll feel like I'm doing really well in life until I see friends from high school making tons of money with their successful businesses and such. I'll feel confident in my singing, writing, creativity.. etc until I find someone who is better. But just because my talents and skills are different than someone else's and not yet perfect, doesn't mean they're not good.

As I was reading in Moroni 10 the other day I was struck by verse 18 which reads: "every good gift cometh of Christ." I love how it doesn't say "perfect", it says "good." The talents and skills we think we lack because they're not "perfect" are still good. And they are of Christ! Even when are talents are still in the "amateur" stage, they are still talents. If we get discouraged and stop practicing them, we can lose them. (D&C 6-:2) Yikes!!

Moroni 10:32 says that as we come unto Christ and exercise faith in him, he will perfect us. He takes our strengths and magnifies them! Our faith in him enables us to develop and become what we couldn't on our own.

I recently read a talk by Richard G. Scott where he said: "When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual's life from maudlin, common activities to a symphony of joy and happiness.. true faith, faith unto salvation is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in His doctrines and teachings, faith in the prophetic guidance of the Lord's anointed, faith  in the capacity to discover hidden characteristics and traits that can transform life."

How cool is that?? Faith isn't just something you learn about in church. Faith is a real, living action that can transform you. We're here on Earth to learn and grow. We're each blessed with individual talents to help us become more perfect and bless the lives of those around us. Every gift we have, whether we consider it a gift or not is good and it is from God. :)

I will try to keep this in mind and have more confidence in myself as I seek to develop my talents and skills. :)


P.S. this video is awesome! As children of God, we have endless potential. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In my life

I've been feeling a little nostalgic lately as I have reflected on the different friendships I've had throughout my life. I've always been blessed with great people in my life who have impacted me in so many ways. I had a golden childhood filled with the perfect neighborhood best friends. I later spent every summer of my teenage-hood working at a scout camp where I made wonderful friends there. I had some great friends in high school who'll I'll always be grateful for. Different people have come into my life through school, institute, church and recently, my mission.

I'm grateful for all the people I've known and the memories we've shared. Life is so fleeting and sometimes you don't realize the value of a moment with someone until it becomes a memory. The people you shared those memories with move on with their lives and so do you. That's not to say I'm not still friends with these people, but things are different. Change is good and often times necessary, but it can happen too fast.

I remember just wanting to freeze time before I left on my mission because I didn't want things to change. My siblings and I became very close and shared many of the same friends. We all went our separate ways and things have definitely changed. And you know what? That's okay! Because I've realized that no matter how much things changed and how many people slip out of my life, good things keep on coming. It's funny how most of my closest friends right now are people I didn't even know two years ago. I have some really great people in my life right now and I couldn't be happier! It's crazy how no matter how good life is, it only gets better. :)

These lyrics from The Beatles really hit home to me:

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life-- I love you more

Although this is a love song, I think you can relate it to any relationship. I do have a great guy in my life right now and am blessed with many wonderful friends. I love them so much and I'm happier then I've ever been! I'm so grateful that God is so mindful of me and allows good things to fall out of my life so that better things can come along. Life is wonderful! I'm grateful for old friends, new friends and friendships yet to come. :)


Friday, January 16, 2015

I will be your light in the wilderness

I've never  liked change. Yet lately my life has been full of it. Change can happen when we least expect it. It's funny looking back to just a couple years ago and realizing how different my life seems now and how different I am. There are certain moments in life that mark the end of an era and the beginning of something else. There are moments that change everything.

For me, one of those moments was when I decided to serve a full time mission. It was never something I planned on doing, but the feeling to go came with such intensity that I knew I had to act on it. I knew that it was going to be hard and I knew that I'd have to sacrifice a few things in the process. But I knew that it was something the Lord needed me to do.

In 1 Nephi 2 in the Book of Mormon, Lehi experiences one of these life changing moments. He is commanded to leave Jerusalem, the city he's known and lived all his life, and depart into the wilderness.

And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness -1 Nephi 2:4

Can you believe that? It's hard enough leaving behind your home for 18 months to 2 years to serve a mission, imagine leaving behind EVERYTHING to go out into the unknown, knowing that you'll probably never return? Imagine, how much faith he must have had to receive word to do this in a dream and not even question if it was from God or not. Lehi was amazing.

Sometimes God asks us to do hard things and we might not always know the initial reason why. Lehi was told to leave because Jerusalem was going to be destroyed; yet there was no evidence of this. Even after they'd been in the wilderness for years, Jerusalem still hadn't been destroyed. This is one of the reasons why Laman and Lemuel murmured.

Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy. -1 Nephi 17:21

It's so easy for people to lose faith in God when things aren't going their way. But faith is trusting in God's promises even when we don't see the blessings yet. Faith is knowing that God has better things in store for us than whatever we've left behind.

Lehi had such faith. I love the optimism he shows in 1 Nephi 5:5

But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice. 

In one short sentence, Lehi teaches us so much about seeing with an eye of faith. They hadn't been in the wilderness long, a boat hadn't yet been built to take them to the promised land, but Lehi rejoices as if he's already made it there. He knows that God has something wonderful in store for him and he rejoices in it.

We can also rejoice when we find ourselves in the "wilderness". Our wilderness can be considered any time of change or uncertainty. We can have faith that even when we're going through trials, we're being prepared and strengthened for something better.

Eventually Lehi and his family made it to the promised land and Jerusalem was invaded and destroyed. What's most important to understand though is the journey and the faith it took to get to the promised land.

But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands -2 Nephi 1:5

Though life is full of unexpected twists and turns, these unexpected moments often lead us to the greatest joy. Essentially what I'm trying to say is that although my life has been turning out a lot different than I thought it would, I'm so glad that it is. Going on a mission changed my life a lot and I'm still trying to figure everything out. I still have a lot of choices to make and I'm not quite sure what my future holds.. I know that everything will work out.

And I know that even when I find myself in the wilderness, God is right there with me. (1Nephi 17:13)