A Perfect Life.

Last week was practically perfect in every way. And saying that I feel like I need to follow it up with some extravagant story of how awesome my life is. Of some big event or some crazy adventure that I had. But honestly, on paper, last week was so mundane. I did what I do every week; school, work, Seven Peaks.

But what made last week so amazing and worthy of saying “Practically Perfect in Every Way” was in those small and most ordinary moments. Like on last Wednesday night, Mariah and I were just riding around and decided to ride this path by the Provo River (I’m not even sure if that’s what the water is called… But it was pretty and it goes right through Provo… So…) and we rode by this painted wall. And it was such a small little treasure, but I loved it probably more than normal people would. And then later that night, we rode over to Jerad’s. We watched Think Like A Man and then played Call of Duty. And I actually ended up taking a practice exam for my summer class that I’m currently taking. And those are things that we do all the time. But for some reason, at the end of the night as I wrote in my gratitude journal, my life just seemed so utterly perfect. I felt on top of the world.

Another time I felt like I was on cloud nine and nothing could bring me down was on the Fourth of July. And it was easily the best Fourth of July ever. But not because we did anything extraordinary. We did what we do every weekend, Seven Peaks all day and a BBQ. The only thing that was out of the ordinary was fireworks. I had my camera with me almost all day. And I was just capturing the fun we always have with each other; the jam sessions, the meals we have, and the ridiculous things we do. But as we drove up to the base of the mountains, just above where a couple of my friends live, to watch fireworks, the lighting got really bad for both pictures and videos and so I had to put the camera down. And it was in those moments that I realized the true beauty of this life I live.

All we did in those moments that I couldn’t quite capture with a lens was watch the fireworks all over Utah Valley and sing along to Roy as he played the guitar. And it was so simple. And it was so perfect. And I felt like my heart could burst for the gratitude that I felt in that moment. That there are moments that I will never be able to quite capture. I will never capture them through my lens, or even with my words. And those moments are truly the most beautiful moments.

I was telling my mom about these moments that I have experienced as we had our weekly chat the other day and she told me that she was happy for me because it was in those moments that I was experiencing the most pure forms of happiness that humans can experience. I come across pictures, quotes, saying, videos, loads of things as I scroll through various social networks, and I am constantly reminded of what true happiness is. It is not having everything you want–a job, a car, the latest phone, etc.. While those things are nice, they are not the defining of happiness. And I was reminded of that this week. True happiness is when you have something so ordinary and yet, you have never felt happier. And I had the blessing of experiencing happiness in it’s truest form.

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Winter 2014.

Well, this post is just a little belated… I had all intentions of posting this the day that school ended or perhaps the day after… But long story short, things got really complicated and plans came up and I was busy beyond measure, so therefore I am posting pretty late. 

Anyhows, I can’t believe that it’s already summer. It doesn’t feel like summer (because it’s 60 degrees outside and bitterly cold and windy), but nonetheless, it’s summer and I’m done with school! This semester has been a rough one. But one of the best one’s ever. 

ImageThe first week back was probably one of the best weeks ever. It was so nice to just reunite with everyone and get back into the ebb and flow of school. I can still remember the greatest night and how hard we laughed. It felt too good to be real.

 

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageLet’s not forget about the wonderful ten days that I spent touring Northern California with Living Legends. We had the time of our lives. Tour is always such an amazing time, full of the hardest laughs and the most tender cries. 

Shortly after our tour came our DeJong show. Oh, how I love dancing for our home crowd. It means so much to me to be able to share my culture and so much of what I am with my friends. Living Legends has become the biggest part of my life, and to be able to share what I work so hard at and what I love so much with friends at school is one of the greatest feelings.

And let us never forget my 15 seconds of fame when I was in a Vocal Point video. This cover is so good (and I’m not just saying that, I truly do love it more than the actual song). And if you want to see where it gets good, fast forward to 2:03 and look in the bottom left corner. You’re welcome.

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^^Three of my favorite guys ever^^Image

 

Remember that night that Sydney and I were looking fine and fresh? Yeah, me too, because I don’t ever look that good. I was so excited for the Academy Awards event that my ward was having. I was probably more excited for that night than any slash all of my high school dances combined. Real talk. Oh, and I will never forget the after party that we had. We went so hard that we had to move the party outside. I’m still excited that we pulled off the after party of the century (jk. Just the most bumpin party Casa Dea/5th Ward has seen in a while).

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And then after a particularly rough patch in the semester, my family came in for the rescue. I honestly cannot express the love I have for them. I could write 100 novels and never quite express how much I love them. I will never forget the night of that Heritage Week show. I hadn’t smiled that hard in a while and probably not that hard since. I had never felt so overwhelmingly loved and blessed by so many of my friends. Honestly, that was one of the greatest nights I have ever had. I still look back on it so fondly and looking at the pictures just fills me with that overwhelming sense of love that I find oh so rare.

And those were some of the big highlights of my semester. I still can hardly believe that it’s summer. I’ve been waiting for summer for what feels like forever. This past semester was a tough one. I struggled a lot with school and personal things, but it all worked out in the end. I know that the Lord was giving the challenges that I faced to carefully craft me into the person that I’m meant to be. One thing that I learned this semester and I think was one of the biggest lessons that I needed to learn was that we have a choice in how we react to things. When we fail, get our heart broken, make rookie mistakes, or fall, we can either choose to throw pity parties and cry and get mad, or we can choose to learn from it and move on. I definitely didn’t always just learn and move on, I had some major flaws in how I handled some things, but I have learned so greatly the blessings and doctrine of agency. 

I will forever remember that lesson that I learned the hard way. I made it through this semester; one way or the other, I made it. And I have finally come to the summer that I’ve long been awaiting. With a long list of summer activities. This is going to be a summer to remember. 

Easter.

What a beautiful Sunday yesterday was. From the meaning of the day, to what I did, to the weather. It was practically perfect in every way.

Sunday’s are the best. I know that I’ve already said that about a thousand times, but I truly love them. With finals being this week and me still having 5 finals to take, I was definitely  tempted to study all day yesterday. But I decided to keep my goal of no homework on Sunday’s. It took a lot to do that though… 

Anyhows, so yesterday morning I had the opportunity to go to one of my first friend’s at BYU’s farewell talk (wow, I probably butchered the grammar on that sentence… Forgive me). It was such an amazing sacrament meeting. The whole time that she was giving her talk, I was just thinking “Dang. This girl is going to be a killer missionary. Hungary is so lucky to have her.” Her talk reminded me of the meaning of Easter. And also, the girl after her. Her talk was amazing. The spirit was so strong between those two. I do want to share a quote with you from sacrament meeting. It might be my favorite (and longest) quote ever:

“Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt. We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It’s our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don’t think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don’t experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.
Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He’s been there. He’s been lower than all that. He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.
You know that people who live above a certain latitude and experience very long winter nights can become depressed and even suicidal, because something in our bodies requires whole spectrum light for a certain number of hours a day. Our spiritual requirement for light is just as desperate and as deep as our physical need for light. Jesus is the light of the world. We know that this world is a dark place sometimes, but we need not walk in darkness. The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and the people who walk in darkness can have a bright companion. We need him, and He is ready to come to us, if we’ll open the door and let him.”- Chieko N. Okazaki

I know that that quote was directed towards woman, but I think it can apply to everyone. Especially the part where it talks about how we sometimes generalize the atonement, but we do not experience hardships and trials as generalizations. I love that part. We all go through different experiences, and even when our situations are similar, the way the we react and actually experience the trial is different from individual to individual. And Jesus suffered for each individual, not for general situations. I love that.

Image^^These girls. Been there from the start. We’re going to miss you Emma!^^

Then, in order to fight the temptation to study, I went to Bryce’s apartment. I wrote a couple of missionaries and took a nap. It was glorious. It’s crazy how quickly time passes on Sunday. Because all of a sudden it was about 5 o’clock and we haven’t done any “Easter” activities yet. So, we decided to go to our apartment, dye eggs, and then make those eggs Deviled Eggs. That was the best decision we made all day. Our eggs turned out so cute. I even made an egg with our “Sunday Group” on it. ImageImageImageImageImageImage
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^^ Ethan is the only one with shoes on, Bryce has his blue Dunder Mifflin shirt on, Sydney has brown hair, Shaun has a green shirt on, Tess has her “Red Hair,” and can you guess which one was me?^^

I love Sunday’s. And it truly makes me sad that we are all going separate ways for this summer… I’m going to miss our regular Sunday group, but I’m happy that everyone is just leaving for a summer and that they’ll be back before I know it. I never want to forget the lazy Sunday afternoons and that one perfect Easter full of naps, letters, laughs, walks, and some delicious Deviled Eggs.

 

Natives.

I have greatly been anticipating this post for the last couple of days. As soon as I finish editing my videos and upload them, I am always just itching to share them, but we were supposed to have a “Video Release” party last night (which only the native’s and 3 other people showed up to…. Cool) and I didn’t want to ruin the amazing-ness of our video before the party.

So here is my official release. In the midst of finals, we get together and this video hardly does justice to how down we get. I love this group of people so much. They truly are my family away from home. So enjoy our ridiculous dance moves and you’re welcome for the 9 minutes of entertainment I added to your day (insert kissy emoji here).

^^ If you want something to seriously laugh about in this video, watch me at 2:47 and then watch Mariah at 2:50… I still can’t stop laughing. ^^

Mothers.

So if you know me, you know I have one opinion about mother’s. And that is that mothers are perfect. Yes, I mean it. And yes, I think that more mother’s than just mine are perfect. I have seen this video all over my Facebook…

Bijou and Donuts.

What a lovely and lazy weekend this was. I have made it a personal goal to take my camera out with me more. To catch more moments. But honestly it’s hard sometimes. I get so caught up in what I’m doing, I don’t have time for the camera. And that’s alright.

Anyhows, so for the past forever, my friends and I have been wanting to try Art City Doughnuts. The pictures look DUH-vine on Insta of their little doughnuts they sell. I saw they were going to be in Provo and told my girls that we really needed to go. Later that week, I saw one of my favorite bloggers post about a crafts/pinterest/etsy thing (Bijou) in Provo and found out that the doughnut truck and Bijou market would be at the same place and the same time. It was the best news ever.

So Saturday we woke up, got ready and went out. We ordered the Boston Cream Doughnuts and the Strawberry Shortcake doughnuts… Oh my heavens… Perfection in a doughnut. On a doughnut… Whatever. It was sooo good. Mmmm. I’m still dreaming about them. ImageImageImageMmmm, mmmmm Good. After we ate those, we had to take some pics in front of the cute little sign out. We also debated how to say the name of the market. I decided it looks like Boujwaa (even thought the O’s are at the end and there’s no a’s)…. Eh, it sounded legit to me, so I went with it.IMG_4675 IMG_4676

^^Ok, let’s be real…. I have the cutest friends in the world. ^^IMG_4677 IMG_4678 IMG_4679 IMG_4680

^^ Also, let’s all agree I should never be a model. This “potty” pose is not where it’s at. ^^

Ok, I love Utah because all the girls here are so creative and artsy and cute. I was dying at everything there. And truthfully, if it were up to me, I would have probably spent like $200 at least there. So many cute things! Alas, my bank account said “No, no…” and I had to limit myself. One day…. I dream of the day I can go and spend all the money I want. Ha… Good one, Shanoah.

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And after this lovely morning, I spent the rest of my day with the window open, laying in bed with a mad case of allergies, and editing photos. I love the weekends. And my friends. And doughnuts. That is all.