2016 Bibliography

Maybe my 2016 word should have been “Read” because that’s pretty much all I did this year. I really wanted to spend the last year focusing on creating something (specifically a manuscript) I could be proud of, but this year had other plans in mind.

With my emotional reserves depleted, I did what I do best- I hid in a book. Instead of spending 2016 creating, I spent it consuming literature. Some of it was great, some not so great, and some was borderline embarrassing (I wish I knew how to quit you, celebrity memoirs). Regardless, it was just what I needed.

Some of my fondest memories of this year happened at Lagoon, while Tyson was in line for a roller coaster and I sat on a bench and read my book, finding healing I knew I desperately needed. To me, there’s nothing as therapeutic as getting lost in a book, so I guess I spent  most of my time in therapy this year.

I hope to one day be able to stay current with my Instagram reviews of the books I’m reading, but for now, here are my ratings for all the books I read during 2016:

1 Star – You Can Skip These
The Heart Aroused – David Whyte

2 Stars – Meh
At First Sight – Nicholas Sparks
Austenland – Shannon Hale
That Summer – Sarah Dessen

3 Stars – Good to Pass the Time, but Wouldn’t Recommend
Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple
We Could Be Beautiful – Swan Huntley
Summerlost – Ally Condie
The After Party – Anton DiSclafani
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty
Bookends – Jane Green
Great – Sara Benincasa
Liars, Inc. – Paula Stokes
We Are All Made of Molecules – Susin Nielsen
The Rose Society – Marie Lu
Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
21 Principles – Richard G. Scott
Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard
The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen
Wildflower – Drew Barrymore
Before I Go – Colleen Oakley

4 Stars – Really Liked These, and they Kept my Attention
Anne of Avonlea – L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Windy Poplars – L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Ingleside – L.M. Montgomery
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B – Theresa Toten
Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
Quiet – Susan Cain
Maybe in Another Life – Taylor Jenkins Reid
What Happened to Goodbye – Sarah Dessen
The Crown – Kiera Cass
Mosquitoland – David Arnold
Assassination Vacation – Sarah Vowell
Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone
All of Us and Everything – Bridget Asher
The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Atlantia – Ally Condie
The Continuous Atonement – Brad Wilcox
Face to Face – S. Michael Wilcox
Love Live – Rob Lowe
Sisterland – Curtis Sittenfeld
Girls in White Dresses – Jennifer Close
Eligible – Curtis Sittenfeld
Beautiful Chaos – Kami Garcia
After You – Jojo Moyes
The Moon and More – Sarah Dessen
Please Ignore Vera Dietz – A.S. King
The Holy Temple – Boyd K. Packer
Carry On – Rainbow Rowell
The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Cinder – Marissa Meyer
Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen
The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls 

5 Stars – Page Turners that Made me Weep when They Ended, which I Have Since Recommended to Every Person I’ve Met Since 
Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Anne of the Island – L.M. Montgomery
Anne’s House of Dreams – L.M. Montgomery
The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord
The Great American Whatever – Tim Federle
My Heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga
The Siren – Kiera Cass
Temple Worship – Andrew C. Skinner
Tell Me Three Things – Julie Buxbaum
Landline – Rainbow Rowell
Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
Attachments – Rainbow Rowell
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
Infinite in Between – Carolyn Mackler
Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Off the Page – Jodi Picoult

I’m so flattered whenever someone asks me for book recommendations or tips on how to become a more active reader. I want to share some of what I’ve learned on here because I truly believe that everyone can be a reader. I hope 2017 can be the year everyone finds the perfect book, and maybe it can be the year I write mine.

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Here’s to another year of reading!

A November Post in December

I’m probably breaking some cardinal rule of blogging by posting about gratitude after Thanksgiving, but here we go.

In recent years I’ve noticed that social media is really just a highlight reel that showcases everyone’s best moments, but come December, everyone’s like, “This year has been the worst. I can’t wait for it to be over.” This leaves me, an outsider looking in who only sees pictures of vacations, expensive purchases, and cute kids, feeling a little confused. This year has been a little different, though. Pretty much everyone I follow has been very candid about how rough this year has been. I think that as a nation we’re having a Britney Spears 2007 moment. All of a sudden she doesn’t seem so crazy, right? It’s okay, though, she made it, and we will too.

I have not been as candid about this year has been because I try to be a glass half full kind of person online. I’ve been thinking of the Light the World campaign, and about how I can add more light to the world instead of more darkness. As I started thinking of all the good that has come out of this year, I realized that pretty much all of my blessings have been an indirect result of something hard we’ve gone through. It’s like God is trying to teach me something. Without further ado, a short list of the ways 2016 has not been a dumpster fire, as the Internet has lovingly dubbed it:

  • The most dramatic thing that happened to me this year, my car accident, ended up being kind of a blessing in disguise. Even though I loved Coco, upgrading to a car with all wheel drive that doesn’t hydroplane when it hits a puddle has been a game changer. I’m excited to see how Mindy does in the snow, and I’m super grateful that I never have to wonder if she’s going to start in the morning.
  • Tyson lost his job in October, and we were left feeling upset, shocked, and anxious. However, we realized that we’re way better connected now than when we were first looking for jobs in Logan four years ago. Within a week, Tyson had interviews lined up, and a week and a half after he’d lost his job, he had started a new one. He’s now working at the same company I work for, and we’re able to have lunch together every day.
  • Besides my weekly migraines, I’ve been pretty healthy this year *knocks on wood, burns sage, throws salt over left shoulder, etc. just in case.* I’ve started eating vegetables a few times a week, and now I don’t get sick if someone coughs a few streets away.
  • My job has been a huge blessing this year. I started a five year journal at the beginning of last year, and it’s been really rewarding to see how things have changed for me at my job.
  • In an effort to simplify our lives by simplifying our schedules, we stopped taking Institute classes twice a week and decided to just take one for this semester. The class is especially for married students, and is held at the church building in front of our house. I thought I would feel distant from God in some way, but I’ve actually felt less stressed and more at peace than I have in the last few years. After receiving a few promptings to read the Book of Mormon, I begrudgingly took to 1 Nephi 1, thinking I wouldn’t be able to get anything out of it because I’ve already read the beginning of the Book of Mormon so many times. I was almost instantly bombarded with revelation. Getting back to the basics has been huge for us this year.
  • When we first moved to Utah, we thought we’d be the odd ones out that would be missing out on everything that was happening with our families in California. Since then, both my brother and sister have moved to Utah with their families. It’s been a huge blessing to have family nearby, and to be able to visit our family that isn’t so close during the summer.
  • This year has been a really good book year. I joined two book clubs, and ended up reading some books I really loved that I might not have read otherwise. I also started a book review instagram, which had been a dream of mine for a while: @readingrightalong.
  • The friends trip we took in March carried me through most of the summer. Texts and facetiming carried me through the fall. Long and short distance friends have enriched our lives in so many ways this year.
  • This might seem silly, but getting Lagoon passes turned out to be a highlight of the summer. Tyson and I have very different taste when it comes to fun, but we were both able to agree that Lagoon is where fun is. For Tyson, it means riding roller coasters and taking pictures. For me, it means finding a shaded bench to spend some quality time with my Kindle and occasionally riding some floor rides. Either way, we were able to spend time together and both have fun at the same time.
  • Tyson had his first interview with the airline he wants to work for. It went well, and we are so excited to see what comes from it. His schooling has at times felt like a long and dark tunnel, but we are finally starting to see a pinpoint of light, so we’re walking towards it. I’m really glad that Tyson is able to study something he loves, and that he will be able to make a career out of it in the near future.
  • Something to look forward to: We’re driving to California for Christmas! We’ve been flying the last two years, so I’m actually really excited to spend 30+ hours in the car with Tyson, my Kindle, and maybe some podcasts and audio books. Any recommendations?
  • Of course no gratitude list of mine would be complete without me talking about Tyson. I’m reminded of something Elder Holland said about his wife. He said, “To me she was larger than life.” That’s how I feel about Tyson. Even though we’ve been married for almost five years, I’m still constantly amazed at his goodness, his patience, and his tender heart. He takes such good care of me, and has made the last year more than just bearable.

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I could probably keep going all day, but there are books to read and laundry to do, so I’ll stop here. In the words of Anne Shirley, “I’m so glad I live in a world where the are Octobers.” Just kidding, though she did say that. She also said this, “Open your doors to life… and life will come in.” This is me opening my doors.

Summer 2016

One day I’ll be able to provide more than a quarterly update on our life, but for now, here we are. This summer was probably our busiest ever, and it was equal parts fun and exhausting. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • Got season passes to Lagoon
  • Airshows
  • Seven Peaks for the first time
  • Blind Pilot concert
  • Idaho State Fair
  • Education Week
  • Provo City Center Temple (#21!)
  • Played a lot of Pokemon Go
  • Quick trip to California
  • Seaworld
  • Flight exhibit at the Leonardo
  • Got a new car to replace poor Coco (RIP)

Now that summer is over, here’s what I’m excited for in the fall:

  • Halloween candy being on sale
  • Our couple’s Halloween costume
  • Nanowrimo
  • General Conference
  • Fall TV
  • These colors:

Long live fall!

At the Hop

The flight team put on a 1940s themed dance at the school’s hangar in April, and I don’t think I’ve been that excited for a dance since my wedding. I love the 40s and 50s, and loved having a chance to dress up and wear red lipstick.

The Swing Club was offering a short dance lesson before the dance, but two left feet and kitten heels don’t mix, so I watched from a sitting position and wished for the millionth time that I could dance. Even though my dancing abilities are subpar, Tyson twirled me all around that hangar, and we had the best time.

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Love him and his classic good looks.

The Great Power Outage of 2016

I love book to movie adaptations, so I was super excited to watch The Hunger Games when it came out. We went to one of the late showings at a movie theater that was in a little plaza. As we were leaving, the plaza was completely empty, and I was so scared that the Hunger Games were real. I kept telling Tyson, “This could totally happen. President Snow could be real.” We discussed this for a little while, and I told Tyson to leave me behind if something like the Hunger Games ever happens. I’m not fast, or strong, or good in high-stress scenarios. I would not do well in a situation like that. I think an Eagle Scout like him would have a good chance of survival, but not me because I have nothing to contribute besides my quick wit. He said he would never leave me behind, and that made me feel a little safer.

One night when we were coming home from the gym (I was hoping this would come up… We reluctantly go to the gym now!), and we noticed there wasn’t a single streetlight or apartment light on. I started to panic because this had President Snow written all over it. Our suspicions were confirmed when we got to our apartment and tried all the lights.

I tend to take electricity for granted, so I forget you need it to do pretty much everything. You want to charge your phone? You’ll need electricity. You want to be on WiFi? Electricity. You’re craving some microwave popcorn? Also electricity.

Since we’d just come back from the gym, we were super gross and sweaty, and not showering was not an option. But showering in the dark? Even I’ve seen enough scary movies to know that’s not a good idea. Luckily, I’m married to a resourceful man (Girls, add this to your list!). Tyson put a little flashlight in a mason jar, and I was able to shower without feeling like I was about to become a victim to a violent crime. We survived the next few hours without electricity, but I was really glad when it came back.

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Whenever the topic of the Hunger Games comes up, I continue tell Tyson I would be dead weight, but he still refuses to hypothetically leave me behind. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is.