Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Oh, Africa.

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While I was sick, I tried as much as I could to try not to look at different non-profit groups or read up on issues of the world too much because I get too upset when I can't do anything about it. As silly and cliche as that sounds, it was because when I do, I want to jump out of my skin and get to work!

I just am so passionate about it all and want to travel and get involved so badly that I would make myself upset because I was sick and unable to help.

Now that things are looking up, I have been going crazy researching and applying for scholarships and internships to go next summer. I'm so excited and really hope something works out!

I also saw these videos today and got so emotional. I would do just about anything to get myself back to Africa...both because I love the place and the people - but it was also the happiest I have ever been in my whole life.

So for now, I will keep dreaming in my international development classes and continue to be moved and  hope with all hopes that I can get back there next summer!

If you wanna see a cool group/website go HERE.

This is one of their videos I loved:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

True Love

My sweet parents have always had an amazing relationship -- one I can only hope to have one day.

My dad is always doing sweet things for my mom and is super thoughtful (and the other way around as well), but since my mom has been working I have noticed him making special effort.

Today my mom told me the cute things he has been doing like surprising her with a clean house,
fixing her bike, back massages for her sore neck, making her breakfast in the morning, doing all the yard work, and most recently she mentioned....

leaving love notes in her car at work.

When she told me I got all teary-eyed.
How sweet is he??

I need to find me one of him -- and fast. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” - Wayne W. Dyer

Although surgery is never fun, and this has been on really long and difficult road - I am one happy girl.

I will never be able to write or express all the miracles that have forged from this experience.

Not many will ever see the ways roadblocks that were suddenly moved, the people who happened to be in the right places, the times my life was saved, the comfort that has been given, the angels - seen and unseen to minister to me, the lessons that were taught, the character that was expanded, the love that was shared, and ultimately - the experiences that teach me that someone is up there guiding all this plan that can seem like such a mess and then all of the sudden makes perfect sense.

Needless to say my heart is very full (and very swollen) quite literally and figuratively.

I think we have finally come to a point where if this whole thing is not completely over, I will at least have a little time to catch my breath again.

No need to get all technical about what happened in surgery - but just know originally I was misdiagnosed and told I would never be able to do what I loved - and now I am fixed and the future looks good.

I may have to have touch up surgeries in the future, but for now things are looking good.

I'm sore and have to be down for a few more days - and then, nothing but up from here! Thanks for all your prayers and is good and I feel blessed.

Here is to doing all the things I was told I couldn't! And to a future full of running marathons, traveling to foreign lands, having lots of babies, wake boarding, going to the beach, hiking to the highest mountains, and finding happiness in all the little things.

More later.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I've Been Missing You

Where have I been? Where have YOU been?! I have missed blogging and missed my blog friends so much! Gosh, I don't know why every once in a while I go on these massive blog hiatuses...but I'm back. And like I said, I have missed you terribly. It's also 4 AM and I haven't slept - guess maybe it is my nerves for surgery today - so now is as good a time as any to give you a recap of life lately and the questions you've been dying to have answered (kidding) the quickest and most painless way possible. I have been getting asked kind of the same questions these days about school, work, family, friends, here goes nothing.


Unlike you lucky UVU-ers, I don't start til Monday (I won't be feeling so lucky when fall and spring break rolls around...). I am taking a hefty 18 credits this fall that will put me a whole 2 semesters ahead of my graduation date.  So far I am shooting for end of June or August at the VERY latest to get that cap and gown.

I also finally finished those last nagging classes that I took an incomplete for a year ago. So my summer very frequently looked like this:

Lucky for me I pulled of real great grades in those classes - but I would NOT, I repeat not, ever take an incomplete unless it is your very last of options. Nothing spells procrastination like having 1 year to finish all of your work. 

My most exciting recent educational news is I got invited to apply by my professor (so nothing for sure yet...but just excited to get asked!) for an incredible internship next summer. It would consist of picking pretty much any continent and spending the next two semesters researching a specific international non-profit group and then spending all of next summer on their dime collecting data. LITERALLY my dream come true and would put me right where I want to be to launch my career. So we're just going to pray really hard that I will get chosen and then be healthy enough to go. 


Social life is like pulling teeth sometimes....I am getting better. But gosh, all that effort to meet new people and be exciting wears me right out. No, I'm not dating anyone, but being set up seems to be more frequent as of late. I think people are seeing my Utah bride age limit getting higher and apparently that's a good indicator of matchmaking?? I dunno, but I am happy to oblige and am up for meeting new people on blind date...most of the time. So we will see how that goes. 

I started going to the Polynesian single's ward and every week just gets better and better. I adore the people in that ward and I have never felt so comfortable. It just fits...and confirmation after confirmation reminds me that I am right where I need to be. I have met some of the most amazing people and I have been welcomed with the most open arms and lots of yummy poly food. Dream. Come. True. I love it so much. 

Ward campout. Don't they look like a great group?? They are. 

I also had some great visits with some of my best friends from college. I love them so dearly - and no matter how different our lives are at this point...we still make time for seeing each other.


I have spent tons of time with family this summer and I loved it! First I had my sweet little cousins in town for the fourth and I was lucky enough to see their excited faces at Stadium of Fire while they listened to their favorite artist Kelly Clarkson. It was a great show and amazing time. 

We also played A LOT of laser tag while they were here. It was so fun! And if you ever wanted some good family therapy - it's a laser tag session. Nothing like shooting each other to take out any old frustrations (only kidding...but kind of serious at the same time). We had a blast. 

On a more serious note, unfortunately, my cousins on my mom's side lost their sweet baby almost 2 weeks ago to a genetic disease that took her very fast. I was in really in awe of how strong her parents are and can't imagine losing a child, let alone my first baby. She was definitely an angel here on earth that was too pure for this life and now has her angel wings. 

Jenivee June Clawson

The celebration of life was so beautiful and touching and reminded me of how fragile life can be. One good thing that can come from the loss of life is bringing families together - and Jenivee really did that for all of us. 

My little cousin "Gator" as soon as he saw me came running up with his shirt pulled up and big smile on his face to show me his "zipper" scar from his open heart surgery. He excitedly proclaimed, "my heart buddy! We're twins! I haven't seen you in a really long time, and I missed you!" My heart melted and tears welled up in my eyes to see him so excited to see me when I hardly thought he remembered me. He sat on my lap and we talked hospital chat and how good he was doing. He gave me a good smooch and I loved that our spirits are intertwined by being two "heart buddies". He is such a strong boy and has endured much more than I have and when I go through hard things I like to imagine him and how brave he is. He really is one of my heroes, along with the rest of his incredible family. When I left the luncheon after the funeral he was on the swings at the park and yelled out, "Bye! I love you so much!" and I was reminded how the little things in life make it so great.  

Everyone else in the family is doing so well...including this pretty lady (doesn't she look great?)


Yep I started a job here - Emergency Essentials. It's all about emergency preparedness and I basically take calls and do orders over the phone. It's perfect for my situation and I'm so grateful to have it. That's where I have been spending most of my time. Definitely a far cry from anything I have ever done, but it works for now. 

For those keeping up on my life better than I am, I never actually ended up interviewing for that MTC job. I didn't want to even interview til I knew what was going on with my health. So right now I will stick with EEI and school and wait for the day when I can apply there. 

And of course, I am missing my days at the old folk's home...but I have still been able to visit. My little Miss Cula is just as feisty as ever and I love her dearly!


When am I not sporting these pretty gowns??

So basically there is a whole lot of medical jargon that might be really boring and confusing.  Feel free to skip it and after surgery today I will try to update on how things went. 

First things first I was misdiagnosed by a doctor who did my last two surgeries and also decided to up and leave his practice without informing anyone. This is actually a huge blessing in disguise...or not even disguise, it was just a flat out blessing. I am now seeing Dr. Hwang who is world renowned and definitely is being thorough. First he had me do an MRI to see if there were any physical abnormalities with my heart. I thought this was brilliant because no one has ever done all this time. Now that I think back - it seems stupid. But whatever, it is being done now. Next he had me wear a two week monitor that was a 24 hour monitoring as well as an event monitor - also incredibly smart. The MRI showed the scar tissue but nothing abnormal which was good. The event monitor showed extremely erratic and irregular heart beats that made him believe that it could me ectopic atrial tachycardia. It is a pretty rare diagnosis - but would explain a lot. This basically means that I am creating heart rhythms from somewhere other than my sinus node, or pacemaker. He wanted to do one more test to rule out what I had been previously diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and IST (inappropriate sinus tachycardia). I really didn't want this diagnosis so I was hoping it was a misdiagnosis because there is not much they can do for it and it has left me pretty debilitated. So the test for that is called a tilt table test ( I look extremely beautiful and attractive in this picture, I know). 

This was  pretty miserable test, but I made it through. This was to figure out why I have been passing out and the whole goal of this test to do everything they can to make sure you do just that - pass out. This includes having you stand without being able to position yourself for 40 minutes, then tilting you back so all the blood rushes to your head. Then they quickly bringing you back up (if you make it that long) and then pump you full of that stupid isuprel ( or adrenaline) and make my heart rate skyrocket. I made it through the whole test without passing out til the very end. It was technically a positive test, but I showed no symptoms of POTS or IST...YAY!

That led to the next step, which is today of having exploratory surgery done of my heart to map it electrically. This will then be compared to a physical MRI picture and he will be able to diagnose me further and see what to do next. 

I had an incredible priesthood blessing from my dad and I feel pretty calm about today, all except for hoping and praying that they will be able to put me to sleep so I don't have to relive my last nightmare (see previous blog). I am so hopeful for today and I believe in miracles. I know that Heavenly Father has led and guided this path more than I could ever explain. God loves us, even if he asks us to do hard things. It is necessary for the sanctification and strengthening of our spirits and souls. I know that - and I know that although my trial is obvious to the world, He cares about the not so obvious that are equally difficult heartaches and difficulties. 

We can do hard things. 

My mom or I will be updating later tonight about the findings. I am so grateful for anyone who reads this and cares...your strength and love gets me through.

More later.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The skinny.

Let's be honest, "skinny" has been my own personal swear word, and body issues have been a problem since forever.

It has been so difficult trying to be comfortable in my own skin. I can't how many tears in dressing rooms have been shed over my un-skinny, Polynesian body. I think we all go through it in one way or another. But I just was thinking about it the other day and I can't remember a time in my life where I have not been worried in one way or another about not being skinny or small enough - even as a little girl (and I was not at all overweight). 

Surgery and being sick has not made it any better. I have put on more weight than I would have liked to through all of this - and I don't want to use it as an excuse, but if I were to ever have would definitely be the time. Between not being able to exercise, being in bed, and medication side effects - my body is not having it. It's something I am trying to let go of because I didn't have a whole lot of control over it. The other day I went to a new doctor (because my regular was out of town) and got lectured for a good 30 minutes about how I need to lose weight and asking if I frequent drive throughs. I was mortified and offended because I hadn't been crazy dieting - but besides the occasional night out, I had been really cutting my portions and cutting out things like white flour and sugar. I mean really? Cut me some freaking slack....I don't think he understood that I have had 3 surgeries in the last 9 months. 

After being belittled and made to feel like crap, it finally got me really mad enough to figure out a permanent solution. And remind myself to never, ever go back to him again. 

I have done my fair share of dieting....everything from Weight Watchers to HCG to South Beach....whatever. I have yo-yoed and just made to feel like a failure every time. It works - for like a second - and then as we know, it goes right back on. I just wanted to find something I felt like was manageable, where I could succeed, and that I could do long-term. 

I know I am never going to be "petite" and look like Kourtney Kardashian - that is completely unreasonable. But I cut my calories by a lot and have really been tracking every little thing I eat. Even though I was cutting out things like sugars and white flour - I really needed to be cutting more calories. 

I downloaded the app "Lose It" and it has been the easiest and most do-able thing I have ever done. It motivates me to keep eating great and I am able to treat my calories like a bank account with budgeting.  Best of is free! It has helped me have self-control not only in eating well, but also budgeting money in general. It's been great! All around it has been a positive experience and I don't feel deprived at all. I feel like I can go out without feeling guilty and still stay under my calories. You can scan bar-codes and it has hundreds of restaurants with their entire menu already uploaded. It helps me make much better decisions when eating out because I can decide what really has less calories and then just cut it in half.

I have already lost 4 pounds, and even though I can't exercise like everyone else, I can still do light walking and add to my calorie bank account. 

Anyway, if you are having a hard time finding a good solution - I just thought I would shout out how much this has helped me to not overwhelmed or discouraged. I know that to some people that is the most obvious solution - cutting calories - but for me it has taken this long to try not to find a quick fix and something that I didn't hate doing every day. Figuring out and counting calories was the most irritating experience and this app has made it so much easier for me personally.

Now I need to work on being comfortable in my body and becoming grateful for all me - the good and not so good. My new goal is not so much to be skinny - but to be happy and healthy. It can be hard with so many pressures around me - dating, magazines, Facebook - whatever. But I am really trying to accept my body and be OK with not being skinny. I have been so hard-wired to look at my body so critically and I am really, really trying to change that. It has been through a lot, and as long as I am doing my best and eating healthy - that is all you can do!

Here's to doing your best and becoming healthier every day.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Oh man. I can't believe how long it has been since I have even thought about this blog. After my yucky post about surgery and how hard that was for me, I think I went on a social media purge. If I am being totally honest, I love letting people into my life through my blog...good and bad. Maybe sometimes I am a little too open, but the payoff is great and I got so many incredible emails of encouragement and people who had explained that my situation had helped in some shape or form. Trust me, if I am going to go through tough stuff having people there to support you whether you know them or not/knowing that maybe in some small way it is helping someone else.... helps gets me through it.

That being said, I just wanted to be alone for a while. So I went on a hiatus and kind of needed a break from anyone knowing what is going on.

Is that weird? Maybe. Maybe it is more weird that I am willing to broadcast my feelings to tons of strangers.

Either way,  I'm back.

So I am going to do a quick recap....with not too much detail because it would take a really long post that no one but me would two craps about. So here is a little update:

Firstly, I have just been trying to heal, rest, and take it easy by having no job and not going to school. I hardly know what to do with myself....but it has been good. I have been working out with the old folks at the hospital gym (although you can hardly call it working out since I got about .2 mph on a bike...I fall far behind the 80 year olds stamina there. Embarrassing but true. I'm getting there though!) and sleeping a ton.

It has been nice to not do much because I really needed it...but I hate not being independent. So in about 2 seconds here I am going to be doing some major job hunting with first on the list applying for a teaching position at the MTC.

At the end of May my aunt and uncle flew me out to Minnesota to visit them. They seriously spoiled me rotten and I loved being with them so much! My uncle is the treasurer of Best Buy (NBD) and so that is the reason they live there. I love being with their kids and it was so fun for me to be a kid again.

1) Went to one of their 10,000 lakes
2) Ate a super sweet steakhouse for my cousin's 15th birthday (literally the fanciest restaurant I have ever been to.)
3) Played spa night with facials, pedis, manis, and makeup.
4) Jumped on the trampoline (I mostly just let them bounce me haha)
5) Watched plenty of "My Little Pony"
6) Saw lots and lots of movies on their sick home theater as well as the Imax
7) Colored a lot
8) Used my rusty imagination and played bakery and library and dolls
9) Snuggled lots
10) Went to all their cute end of year performances

It was a blast.

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 Then after a few short days at home, I packed up to get ready to head for Hawaii.

I know....lot's of traveling. I have been to Minnesota, Oahu, Maui, Arizona, and Nevada in the last 3 weeks. My body is swollen, sore, and beyond tired. But it was so worth it!!

To start, we were trying to do this trip CHEAP. Although we saved a lot through doing everything discounted, anyone who knows Hawaii knows there is nothing cheap about it.

We did go on a discount airline called Allegiant that was only 240 round trip from Vegas to Oahu. It was obvious it was a discount airline since the seats were about half the size of a regular plane, their seats don't recline, half as much less leg room, no food is served, blankets and pillows cost, as well as it is extra to reserve your seat. They could have stuck me on top of the plane and it might have been almost as was pretty hilarious. Since we are all pretty laid back and willing to scrape where necessary, we made it....but my body hated me for it. I was so full of water after those flights. We also stayed in quite the dive in Waikiki. Everything in Waikiki is a dive unless you pay an arm and a leg...however...just to give you an idea - they ran out of pillows and towels, charged us for parking that wasn't there, had us park one night in a place where you couldn't open the car doors....on top of it,  the security guard was the one who placed us and then put a ticket for parking in the very spot that night! Ha! Then the springs were sticking out of the bed so bad that we used our beach mats and towels on top of the mattress so we could lay on it.

It. Was. Hilarious. These are not complaints, just more like funny and ridiculous things that happened while trying to save a few bucks. All I can say is we would do pretty OK being homeless because we showered and got ready in bathrooms with no stalls and showers on the beach.

GOOD. Times.

We did everything and saw everything in a short amount of time.

In Oahu we went to:
1) Leonard's to get Malasadas (THE BEST)
2) Ate at the shrimp trucks
3) Went to North Shore, Hukilau, Sunset, and Waikiki beaches.
4) Did the PCC
5) Ate at Haleiwea Joe's and checked out the quaint little town (Best sea food I have ever had)
6) The Dole pineapple plantation
7) Went to Wahiwa (a little sketchy)
8) Ate at Dong Yang (local and Papa's fave)
9) Pearl Harbor
10) La'ie and the temple
11) The international market

In Maui we went to:

1) Wailea and Kihei
2) (Part of) The road to Hana/Bamboo forrest
3) Black Rock
4) Lots of pool time
5) Snorkeling
6) Buba Gumps
7) Front street shops
8) Shave Ice with Haupia
9) Paiea
10) Lahina
11) Boogie Boarding
12) Spending time with cousins
13) Paddle boarding
14) Beach, beach, and more beach


It was so dang fun. I think I need a vacation from my vacation because that last leg killed me. We had to leave our hotel in Maui at 3 AM to make our flight that left at six. It is a 20 min flight to Honolulu, then 6 hour flight to Vegas. We drove to St. George that night, slept there, then drove the rest of the way home. Pooped me clear right out.

I am so happy that I was able to truck through the trip. Pretty good I would say for having surgery just 2 short months ago and less than a year since open heart. I definitely felt it and there were a couple of days where I had to stay in, but I would say I did pretty freaking good!

Now it is back to real life......

More later!