New Years Eve

Yes, I spent New Year's Eve with my mom and dad and sister, watching a wicked old Godzilla movie On Demand and eating bread and nommy oil dips. We're laughing our butts off as mom imitates the actors and repeatidly asks Godzilla if he's constipated. It's quite, just us four, but it's perfect.
 I wouldn't have it any other way.

Peace out, 2011.

Being Home


-Mama Bear

2011 in review

On the last day of the year, I go through every blog entry I've written and relive every high and low moment I experienced over the last 12 months. As I was doing this today, I realized that 2011 was a huge year. a HUGE year. Here is a recap:

I said the hardest goodbye to my best friend and love of my life as he left to serve a mission in Mexico.
I drove across the country with my dad in 42 hours. straight. 
Dustin was reassigned to the New Hampshire, Manchester Mission and we had to stop writing.
I got my knee totally replaced and my life slowly, but surely, back.
I got accepted to teach English in China for spring of 2012.
My parents were called to be service missionaries at Zion's Camp and I spent every day serving there with them. 
I purchased a DSLR and learned how to view the world through a lens.
I healed faster then thought and decided to go back to school.
Hurricane Irene hit New England.
I became an official five-year cancer survivor!
I met Sebasthian and Elysha (Dustin's trainer and his lovely girlfriend) and got to photograph them!
I dyed my hair red.
I became a lead student at my job, became close with the girls I work with and spent thursdays with Paige eating thai food.
I finished the semester and came home to my Cazz Machine
I am making preparations to go live in China for five months.

Yes, this year has been challenging in more ways then I could ever have imagined. But I learned a lot and a grew a lot and I'd like to think I'm the same person as I was in January...just a better version. 


puzzle pieces

Everything is finally falling into place for the next five months. Financial aid has come in, all my debts have been paid, my car is running, I've started purchasing necessary and needed things for China and all three of my doctors have cleared me (again) to travel abroad. I'm really going. This is really happening.
I'm about to live a dream and nothing is going to stop me. 


Chelsie in China

PLEASE do me a HUGE favor and go to my new blog "Chelsie in China" and follow it. I'll still be posting on Into the Wild for the next month, but I decided that I needed a new blog for my adventures in China. Into the Wild is my refuge and much more personal and I don't want to give out this URL to everyone who wants to follow me in China. Don't get me wrong, I'll still write here, but for all China purposes, I need to have a separate blog.

So please, hop on over there, follow it and prepare for coming along with me on the adventure of a lifetime!


Eleven months ago, I made one of the hardest goodbyes of my life.
But now, I have only 13 months left until I get to say one of the happiest hellos of my life.

They will see us waving from such great heights.

I love you, to the moon and back. 


Christmas Weirdness

It was weird, this morning, opening up gifts with just the three of us girls and my parents. Weird to not be arguing with Jake over who gets to sit in the recliner by the fire. Weird to not see him jumping for joy when he opened up his beef jerky that Santa brings him every year. It was weird leaving for church in one car...in my car, because we only needed five seats to get us all to the chapel. It was weird to fit my whole family in one pew, weird to come home and look at our gifts without Jake being there to try to trade candy with us. It was weird setting the table and knowing he wouldn't be there. 

But then the phone rang. And my mom gave me a skype name to type in. And there he was. 
and for 45 minutes, it wasn't weird at all.

I'm so proud of my brother and the great things he is doing right now. I'm proud of the person he is becoming. 
I'm grateful for Christmas and for my family; for singing alto with my mom at the top of our lungs during the Christmas program at church today and for laughing when we hit weird notes. I'm grateful for my parents and their effort to keep us centered on Christ, for reading the Christmas story this morning before doing anything else. And I'm grateful for Christ and his birth. My Bishop said today that without Christmas, we wouldn't have Easter. Without His birth, we wouldn't have had His death and Atonement. Because He was born, I know that I can be with my family forever.
I'm grateful for this weird, but truly beautiful Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas, from me to you.


on the way home

My hands know the roads and I know which stars to follow.


too close

You are too close, too close.
And the hallways that never knew you echo of your constant shadows,
scream of their emptiness,
because they understand your absence now.

and your footprints are on the dirt roads, 
the ones that used to belong just to me.
and they all smile at me as they tell me how
your hand has been placed in all of theirs.

and the life I've been waiting to share...

you have discovered it all on your own.


Because nothing ever goes right for me

668 dollars later and I'm driving home in my Cazz machine with a new wheel baring, new wheel axel, two new tires and freshly aligned and my breaks start to shudder. And then my check engine light comes on. And my mechanic leaves for vacation in the Bahamas tomorrow.

But, it could just be a vapor lock-I filled up the tank on the way home for the first time since April and I wouldn't be surprised if that messed up with things. So, tomorrow I'm going to disconnect my battery, rest the light and see what happens.

It's just funny how things like this always seem to happen to me and my automobile.


From us to you

Merry Christmas!
With love from,
The Whitneys


Being home means constant Christmas music, constant fires in the woodstove, constant baking and constant laughter. It means little kitty paws running up and down the hallway outside my bedroom late at night. It means long warm showers, extra blankets on my bed and ice-cream every night for desert. Being home means winding roads and frozen lakes. It means evenings at Juli's house with warm tea cupped in our hands, or evenings at Brett's house watching basketball, or it means evenings at my own house with my family and telestrations. It means long car rides with my dad to random places, last minute Christmas shopping with my sisters and running errands for my mom. It means afternoons spent with Gov and Sheila, cooking or watching tv or brushing PK. Being home means Saturdays at Zion's camp spent roofing a cabin, it means Friday evenings playing with my sisters and it means New Year's Eve with the Bratt's, the Grotenhuises and the Campbells. It means playing "vicious coyotes" with Kaleb and Jack, it means sitting in primary with Mom and her kids and it means curling up with my favorite books.

Being home means family, happiness, comfort and love. Being home means safety and acceptance. Being home means I'm close to everyone who is important to me. And, being home means my heart is whole and that my soul is on fire. 

New England, my heart will always belong to you.

Just me and the Cazz Machine

I hadn't even been home for a full hour last night when Mom sat me down and laid out a detailed to-do list for me to accomplish this morning in order to get Cazz back on the road. I couldn't believe we were actually going to do this; that she was actually willing to help me get my car road-worthy again. I mean, Cazz is MY car in MY name and my parents have made it very clear that he is MY responsibility. And I have taken care of those responsibilities without any help from my parents for the last two years! I've paid car insurance, all maintenance bills, oil changes and gas fill ups (although they have paid for my registration as my birthday present for the last two years) since it was put into my name. And my family isn't in the best financial circumstances right now. Yeah, we're doing okay, but as it is with most families, money is tight. My parents are paying for my brother's mission, getting ready to send Ashley to school and somehow helping me with China too. So no, I was not expecting my mom to be so willing to help me get my car back on the road. (But let me tell you, my parents are amazing to be so kind and willing to help. I love them so much. I'm grateful for them beyond words)

Today, I spent a good hour on the phone with our insurance, another 20 minutes on the phone with our mechanic and then jumped my car because he hasn't been started in over a month. After dinner tonight, I took Cazz out on the road, followed my dad through countless windy back roads and hills for about 45 minutes until we reached our mechanic's (who is also a good family friend) shop, so that he can be looked at first thing tomorrow. And let me tell you, those 45 minutes of me and the Cazz machine after eight months of being car-less, having to depend on others for rides at school, and feeling boxed in my apartment on nights when I just need to be out was the most freeing and uplifting feeling ever. Just me and the Cazz Machine, my little transformer and windy New England roads that make me feel more alive then anywhere else.

I am home.
I am happy.
I am where I belong.


till Monday

"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night"

I made it through finals week, two long days of training for China and now I'm flying home tomorrow. I'll be back to you all on Monday. <3


Until Sunday

I know, I know. I have utterly failed at blogging over the last couple of weeks. I have been on. the. go. So much to do, never enough time to do it. Heck, my last letter to Dustin was a paragraph a day for almost a week (and that is saying something). I'm focused and exhausted and entering my last push for the semester, so I probably won't be writing anything for the rest of the week. Just wanted to say that I'm alive. I'm kicking. I love my life and everyone in it. I know who I am, and I know where I am going. I'm loved. and I'm going to be home on Sunday.

Peace, Love and Chemo!<3


finals week

98% of my room is packed up and stored away. Two papers, two finals and two portfolios stand in the way of me and being back in New England. Almost there. Almost. there.



I am grateful for the people who love me, and in turn, love him. 


today in Post Modern Literature

"Trauma is memory, buried alive."


the most wonderful time of the year.

well, not really. I love Christmas, but I hate finals week, especially when it means leaving early, working extra hours and moving out of an apartment AND trying to spend time with my cute roommates. Am I exhausted? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Yep, of course. But, because this will be my eighth semester surviving finals, I also know that in just over a week, I'll be home. I'll be happy. And everything will be what it is, no matter what. So, I'll just keep my head up and pushing forward.

Peace, love and chemo!<3


Snapshots on Sunday

Today, I spent most of my afternoon and evening working on this: my creative response to Oscar Wilde's only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray for my final project for Brit Lit. 
And I couldn't be happier with how well these turned out. Special thanks to my roommates who modeled for me, to Symone who was my creative director and also helped me find my camera battery charger and to Russell who let me commandeer his macbook pro and Adobe PS 5. 


Two weeks until I'm home

I've been on campus since ten. It's now three. I'm making progress, but my brain needs a baby break, so enjoy this funny little moment from this summer at Zion's Camp. Jake and Katie were sitting in one of the trucks, waiting for Mom to call them with her next assignment. Ashley and I pulled up next to them on the four wheeler and found Katie drawing different eyes on post-it notes and sticking them on Jake's sunglasses.

I loved this summer. I loved everything about it. I loved spending every day serving at camp; my safe place, my haven. I loved how close it brought my family together. I loved feeling like I was part of something so much bigger. And I loved being outside, in New England, everyday.

I can't wait to be home in two weeks, to take my Cazz machine up to camp and to be surrounded by those precious 66 acres of land.



Because Making Music is Magical

And you were not the same after that<3


Tender Mercies

Today has been a day of tender mercies, and I am grateful for living a life where I can easily recognize God's hand in my every day dealings and answered prayers. These are just a few small and simple, but ever so meaningful and beautiful moments from my day today.

1. Sam gave me a ride to work, so I didn't have to walk in the cold. And I didn't have to work on Jenzabars this morning, which is good because I didn't have the ability to concentrate on them. Instead, I went to the Philanthropies office and folded boxes with Cami and Jess and listened to Christmas music.

2. I was struck with sudden inspiration on exactly what I am going to do with my Brit Lit author portfolio and creative response. It will be a lot of work, but I feel so much calmer knowing that I have a clear direction and final goal.

3. I received a happy letter. And my sweet roommate called me the second it came so that I would know.

4. My apartment complex gave us free pizza today and told us that they would not be requiring us to complete White Glove at check outs. This removes SO MUCH stress from my last week of school.

5. I found out that ALL of my financial aid will be available to me next semester, which means I have China paid in full, and extra money to put towards spending. Huge, huge, HUGE relief.

6. Mom told me she was going to help put Cazz on the road when I come home from school. New tires, new wheel baring and all. Words fail me to describe how happy and GRATEFUL I am to know I will be reunited with my little transformer in just three weeks.

7. I'm behind in school and have so much to do, but I'm calm and focused. I feel good about taking on these next few weeks. I'm stocked up on snacks and Barqs and I am planning my time out so that I will be ahead of the game. I will survive.

Happy Tuesday!


on being honest

I've realized that in order to be honest with others, I have to first be honest with myself.
Today was a huge wake up call for me. But I was honest with myself and now I know what I need to work on. Now I know what choices I need to re-evaluate. Now I know where to go from here.

I will not worry. I will not stress. I will have faith, I will be honest and I will fear not.
I will not be left comfortless.


please be here tomorrow

my imagination is running wild.


only 14 left to go. we will make it.
they will see us waving from such great heights.


Snapshots on Saturday

I always say that I tend to see the world better through a lens.
And I view things differently because of it, like the way the light reflects off tables in an empty restaurant, floods the entry way of a brand new home or changes the color of my eyes in the late afternoon.



For my incredible forever family, who never fails to support me, believe in me or stand behind me in all that I do and all that I dream.

for my brand new knee and my second chance at life, for being limp free and pain free for the first time in over five years, for answered prayers and for miracles

for my two best girls, for their support and kindness and willingness to listen, for the way they open their homes to me and for the adventures we go on and the memories we have made, and the memories to come.

and for the love of my life, my best friend and missionary, for faith in our plan and for the gospel, for his sacrifices and for his obedience, for the blue bow and for knowing what true, unconditional love really is. 

I am so blessed. I am so grateful. 
Happy Thanksgiving.


A place is only as good as the people in it are.

I always get so homesick this week, every year, while everyone packs up and goes home for Thanksgiving. I haven't had a Thanksgiving with my family in four years. It's hard to be away from them.
But, I am thankful for the amazing friends I have out here who always make sure I never go without a place to stay and celebrate. Even when I think I won't have somewhere to go, someone will always open their home up to me. Whether I'm with Julianna and Jordan in Utah, Vicki in Oregon or this year, with Jillise in Boise, I always have a home to go to, a family who will treat me as one of their own and a turkey to munch on. I'm so blessed and grateful and so excited to leave for my fun-filled week with Jillise starting tomorrow! We're going to have movie marathons, finally go see breaking dawn, be crafty, bake, and spend lots of money on Black Friday.

and I know I'll be home in NH before I know it for Christmas time, with my Mama Bear and Dad and my two pretty little sisters; my grandparents and aunts and uncles and my ward family (Kellys, Bratts, Grotenhuises and Yorks) and all of my adoptive siblings. Mom and I will bake a lot and I'll go last minute shopping with my sisters and spend evenings curled up by my fireplace with a book and my kitty. So close. So soon.

Happy Holidays!


Christmas Time

...is not hear yet. Only a few more days until I can break out the Christmas Music playlist.
But, I made a decision today that I am going to attempt to give all hand-made gifts this christmas. 
Mainly because Pinterest makes me think that I can be crafty and be successful at it.

I'll keep you posted on my crafty adventures. 



I've been on campus since noon, curled up in a corner of the MC against a window, buried in homework and drinking enough water to ensure that I will not sleep solidly tonight. I took a lunch break about two hours ago and ate a sandwich while watching The Importance of Being Earnest for my Brit Lit class. I've read and outlined two chapters for my grammar class in order to prep for my upcoming exam. I've printed out all of my editing documents for my portfolio. I finally downloaded spotify for my computer. I've been sitting at the same table for the last 4 and a half hours and I've watched four different people come and go at the table next to me.

About twenty minutes ago, a girl slid into the seat and began to plug away at her homework. Five minutes later, a guy joins her and as they start discussing their upcoming test they are studying for, it is clear that they met during class. He's got this glint in his eye as he talks to her and she can't stop herself from smiling as their conversation turns away from their study guide. I know this is creepy of me, but I can't help it. Watching their interaction is so familiar...like I know what's coming; like I can predict their every move. She can't meet his eyes for long periods of time and he teases her about something irrelevant, but she flusters up anyway while she sputters for words. He laughs. And I know a split second before she does that she's about to direct his attention back to the study guide.

And then it hits me.

This was me. This was the start of my relationship with Dustin. This was us over a year ago; sitting in his apartment, trying to study for a humanities test and him making fun of my accent and me getting so flustered that I said: "THERE IS NO 'R' IN NEW HAMPSHIRE!" This was the start of a relationship that changed who I was, who I was going to be and who I was becoming. This was the start of everything.

And I can't help but relive those moments, instead of working on my final research topic like I am supposed to. Flashback after flashback, moments that I didn't know I still could recall. My keys in his freezer. His socks on my feet. The time I feel asleep on his couch before we saw Inception because I finally felt safe.

Sometimes, I miss him so much I think my insides are disintegrating because I'm so empty. Sometimes, I feel so misunderstood by the world and I don't want to face it unless he's by my side. But sometimes, I get these flashbacks of how it all started and I know, without a doubt, that we were meant to meet when we did. And I know that this time apart is doing nothing but bringing us closer and strengthening our trust and friendship and our relationship with God. And as hard as it is to be without him now; even ten months later, I know that everything will work out, that one day he'll come home to me and that we will be blessed for our patience and obedience during these two years. To that I hold on to; to that I believe.

Back to work. I would like to get off campus by seven...but who knows if that will actually happen.


This will make your day better

It's hard to have a rough day when you start it off with this cute little guy. 


Observations on friendships

You know what is a bummer? When you feel like you are being replaced. When you have friends who you would do anything for; who you did everything with, and because circumstances changed slightly, you feel like you are being forgotten. You feel like you are becoming more of an obligation. You feel like you have to put more time in energy into other relationships because you are afraid of being left alone. You watch from a distance as they spend more time with other people and only hang out with you when you initiate it. You watch everyone receive their happily ever after and you feel stuck because you are in this standstill, waiting to see if you get yours. And no one seems to care about that anymore. No one seems to understand how utterly lonely and hard it can be to be standing on that end of the spectrum. 

It is a never ending cycle. It happens to friendships in middle school when you move up to high school. And it happens to friendships in high school when you move on to college. And I'm learning that it happens in college too.

But it's okay. This isn't a pity party. This isn't an attack at anyone. These are just observations while I watch others around me find a happiness that I sometimes feel will never come for me.
But, I'm happy in other ways. I've got good things going for me. I'm walking again and I am making plans to have my hip procedure done during break and to go back to PT to continue to push my range. I'm really going to China next semester to teach English and to make a difference in someone's life. And I'll get to come home and live another summer of service at Zion's Camp. I have an incredible family, home ward and stake who support me in everything I do. I have sweet roommates and awesome co-workers.  I have an amazing best friend who somehow figures out how to be the most supportive and stable rock in my life, even when he can't be with me. And I have the gospel, and the knowledge of forever families. I have Thanksgiving Break in Boise with Jillise next week. And I have New England and my fireplace and my family and my cazz machine waiting for me in just over a month. 

I'm not one to confront others with how I feel when it comes to these things; so I write it out, count my blessings and realize that it's okay. I'm never going to be left alone. I am blessed. I am happy. And I will just hope that I'll never be entirely forgotten by those I love most. 


Should I take a nap cuddled up in my finished quilt or should I watch a movie?
Should I watch a movie or should I do my homework?
Should I just do my homework?

Um. I vote all three. Nap. Homework. Movie. or Nap. Movie. Homework. or maybe just Nap.

I live such a hard life.
Happy Hump Day!

Abraham Lincoln

"whatever you are, be a good one."


He is We

Forever is a long, long time.
But I wouldn't mind spending it by your side.
Tell me every day I get to wake up to your smile.
I wouldn't mind it, at all.
I wouldn't mind it,
at all. 


winter winds

Although I absolutely hate how cold it is; I love the sound of the wind rushing around my apartment. This is the perfect setting for my winter song playlist, cup of tea and kindle. Well, actually a nap first. But then, a cup of lemon tea and my kindle. I'm reading the Chronicles of Narnia (finally) because I'm doing a paper on C.S. Lewis. And I love Aslan. And I love Narnia.

I need to buy that movie while on my Black Friday adventures with Jillise.

In other news, last night I went down to Idaho Falls with Ms. Chelsea and we got to have delicious steak dinner while Paige worked and brought me extra rolls. She's my favorite. Also, I love those rolls. And then we went to the mall and I bought the best boots ever. I've been looking at them online for weeks and weeks and when we went to the store, they were the only ones left! and they were my size. AND THEY WERE ONE SALE! It was meant to be. Also, Chelsea bought me this awesome ring for 2 dollars because it was BOGO at payless, and she walked in with the intention of buying moccasins and walked out with some hot heels.

anyway. That is my life right now. I'm going to Boise early next week for Thanksgiving and I'm excited for all of my wonderful adventures with Jillise. And then it will only be a few more weeks until I am home, in my beloved New England, preparing for CHINA!

Nap time. <3

Christina Perry

I have died everyday, waiting for you.Darling, don't be afraid,I have loved you for a thousand yearsI'll love you for a thousand more.<3


some things never change.

Chelsie: are you excited to see Vivi and Donnie?
Brett: What kind of question is that?
Chelsie:...a dumb one.
Brett: does a bear poop in the woods?
Chelsie: Point made.

so excited to see his face this coming week. Yay for womb buddies being home!


Thai Thursday and other things

Let me tell you about today.

First, I walked to school, because my phone hates me and didn't tell me that Symone was willing to drive me. So my face was pretty much burned off with the cold by the time I got to work. But then I got to work. And I was productive, which is good, because I'm still a month behind in Jenzabars. Sam and I got hot chocolate. I went to class. Then Paige picked me up and we went to get Thai food. It was delicious. If it is possible to inhale food, then that is what I did. Within 20 minutes, my plate was empty and my tummy was full and happy. I love Thai Thursday/sometime Tuesday. And I am never missing it again.

Anyway, then I went to a work meeting. And Sam and I got in trouble because she tried to draw a hand turkey and the feet came out like an upsidedown umbrella that got blown inside out. and we laughed hysterically. And my boss gave us a look, but she wasn't really that mad.

I then proceeded to hang up Sam's picture in our office, so that everyone could appreciate her work of art. 

I came home and took a shower. And got ready. And then Sam came over and we walked to Northgate and got her car. And then we went back to the BYUI center and had dinner with a bunch of snobby AV people. But that's okay, because the food was really good (minus the fruit bars) and then Kathy and Jeremy came and sat with us and we talked about hiring for next semester and acne. And then we went upstairs and answered phones while President Clark did a live webcast. And Sam and I laughed a lot. So that was cool. Then she took me home in time for me to watch Grey's Anatomy with Whitney. And then right after, Symone kidnapped me so I could meet her favorite returned missionaries that used to serve in her ward. And then she came home and Paige came and kidnapped me and we went and froze our little bottoms up while we watched the soccer championship game that her man was coaching. And we laughed some more.

And then I came home to a nice email from my mama bear and the promise of a letter tomorrow. Not too bad of a day, if you ask me. Not too bad of a day.


I love you, be safe.

He is my best friend.
He is my answered prayer.

He is my miracle.

And every night, I fall on my knees and I pray for his success, for his comfort and for his safety. Because when things like this happen; I get scared that he might not come home to me. I get scared that I might not hear his laughter or see his smile or be able to count the freckles on his hands ever again; that nights eating taco bell and curled up in sweats and intwined with each other while we talk about dogs and jobs and futures will never happen again. But, I know that he is where he needs to be and that we have both been blessed for his choice to serve, for our obedience to the rules and for our faith that God will take care of both of us while we are apart. I cannot be afraid; for faith and fear cannot coexist. And I chose to have faith.



i am living my life by this.


Beck and Bat for Lashes.

image via weheartit

Touch me, I'm golden and wild as the wind blows
Just for tonight, darling,

let's get lost.


Top Five

Five things that are currently rocking my world right now:

1. I bought new skinny jeans that usually are 60 dollars for 9.99.
2. I just got a 92 on my second grammar exam.
3. The mail.
4. My cold is finally almost gone.

winter time.

late nights filled with falling snow.
I am almost home.



break me down and examine my bones.
the melded fragments, the empty marrow.
I am infused with you.
I am not my own self. I am not my old self. 

I am two of us. I am two halves of one. I am one.
I am stronger.
I live because of you.
I live for you. I live for us. I live for me.
I live. 

break me down. I am not broken.
I am not whole, but I am complete.
I am.

I am.


It is winter now.

And on those empty November nights
when our shadows flicker across the bricks that built last year.
I reach my hands out towards the eastern sky.
You are with me.
You are with me. 

Winter Songs

I'm a believer in Thanksgiving. And I believe that it shouldn't be overlooked. And I strongly dislike that the day after Halloween people are listening to Christmas music without giving Thanksgiving a second thought. I firmly believe in listening to Christmas music; but only AFTER Thanksgiving. firmly.

But, after Halloween, I get into this weird mood for music that screams winter and the changing of seasons. Acoustic driven, soft and layered vocals that breathe warmth in the cold air. And so, today, I started creating the worlds most perfect Winter Song playlist to tie me over for the month of November. I'm listening to some of it right now and all's I want to do is be curled up by my wood stove with the snow falling outside my window. I can almost see out my big bay window back home; the way the snow swirls across the stream of light from the windows and the sound of the flame subtly rumbling in the stove. I can't wait to be home for Christmas and to stay up late, curled up in front of the window with a mug of Lemon Tea and this playlist to sing me to sleep.

Check out some of these perfect, magical winter songs:

Winter Song-Sarah Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
Blood Bank-Bon Iver
Winter Wooskie-Belle and Sebasthian
Snow Song-Ron Pope and the District
Sister Winter-Sufjan Stevens
Winter-Joshua Radin


My life

Sometimes, I remember that this is my life. And I'm the one in charge of it. And I can be whoever I want to be. And I can do whatever I want. And if I don't like where I'm going, I can wake up one day and start all over again. I am the captain of my soul. And I will see the world.


brief hiatus.

I haven't really written in a while.
and I'm going to work on that, once I kick this cold.



The Perks of Being a Wallflower

"Because it's okay to feel things. And be who you are about them."


Betty Crocker Moment

I saw this recipe on pintrest the other day and had to try it. So today, in about 20 minutes, I had the most delicious monkey bread muffins on the face of the planet. If you try to make this on your own, I suggest you use a whole teaspoon of butter on the top to make sure the top gets carmalized. UGH! SO YUMMY! Kristin and I have already downed the first tray.


Today, in Brit Lit

cheesy australian accent: "'And now the Cheetah eats the young deer.' And you're sitting there, thinking about the camera men who are filming this and you just want to scream: 'INTERVENE!'...Jerks..."

just a little catch up

1. I'm so busy. It's midterms and I finally got my new planner in the mail and I spent a good chunk of time outlining the next few weeks. I feel focused and determined and motivated. I want to do well this semester.

2. I went to Utah this last weekend to see Julianna and Jordan. It was fantastic. Juli and I ate cookie dough and watched arrested development. We went to a farmers market and tried bread samples from a guy who used to live in Boston. I finally bought my first pair of TOMS. We did homework together in a book binding studio. We saw 50/50 because it was our story of friendship and cancer. We cried through most of it together, and patted each others arms when things happened that happened to us. We ate Thai food and went on a mad hunt to find vampire teeth. We carved pumpkins with Jordan and hung out with Ian and talked about how excited we were for Brett to come home in two weeks. It was fantastic.

3. Once upon a time, I had these friends who used to sponsor dance parties every semester. Then they all kinda went their separate ways and didn't do anything for a while. Well, now they are gearing up to put on a huge Halloween party this coming weekend and they just bought a new fog machine for it. And, being boys, they came over to test it out in my apartment. Where the windows are sealed shut. And where the smoke detector goes off in the whole building....If you were by The Ivy at 11:00 on Thursday night and saw all 300 of it's Tenants standing outside of the building...yeah...that would be because of my friends. Thanks, boys.

4. I've gone almost five months without dying my hair. This is huge for me. And half of me wants to keep going, because it feels so healthy! But, the other half of me cringes at the roots that are coming in and at the big orange spots hiding behind my right ear from the blonde incident this summer. Every day, I lean towards dying it more and more. And I have this huge huge hugeeee craving to go red.

5. Sam and I have started this excellent tradition of watching The Sing Off together every Tuesday. We eat Pizza and Wheat Thins and Easy Cheese. It's yummy. I like her a lot; I'm really glad I've gotten to be such good friends with her this semester.


on pain

On a scale of 1-10, ten being the absolute worse agony ever experienced, I used to live at a constant seven. My knee was falling apart and I felt it everywhere. For the last five years, I learned how to live with that pain. I stopped talking about it. I stopped noticing it. When you live with that kind of pain 24/7, it becomes a part of you.

and then I had this miraculous surgery that fixed my knee. And after all the rough rehab; I'm pain free 95% of the time. It's been incredible and the quality of my life has improved so much that I can't even find words to describe the life that has been breathed into me.

But, that doesn't mean I'm normal again. I still have the smallest gait issues when walking and not thinking about my movements and my left hip has developed some severe arthritis from walking so poorly for so long. It's never been really unbearable-I lived at a constant seven, it was nothing new. But after working so hard to realign my body; it seems to have made things worse in the hip department. And the last few days have been back at that constant roar of seven, except it's in my hip. It's new territory. It's uncomfortable and it aches all of the time and sometimes I can't move because it is throbbing so badly.

But, such is life. I've got two legs. and at the end of the day, I'll take the pain, because it means I have two legs and I have a working knee and I'm alive. And that is more important then anything else.


Life last week.

1. Last weekend was my official 5 year remission anniversary. I hiked R Mountain with three of my favorite girls in celebration. It was really really really tough work and took a lot out of me and I thought about stopping and turning back multiple times. But then I reached the top. Tears just started streaming down my face; because I reached the top. I hiked a mountain and my knee didn't fail and I was alive.
I am a five year survivor. And my live is beautiful.

2. I already posted about shooting Elysha and Sebasthian last weekend; but what I didn't get to tell you was how they took me out for pizza after and came over Sunday so that Sebasthian could explain some of the photos Dustin sent to me a few weeks ago. That was really awesome. Have I expressed how grateful I am for them?

3. I have some pretty awesome friends who really love me. Like Ms. Symone; who left this really great surprise of all my favorite treats in my room on Tuesday to celebrate my five years of surviving.


A Message

Did my missionary send me a handful of red Maple leaves from New England so I could? Yep, he did.
A little piece of home from my best friend.


Today in Postmodern Lit...

"The ultimate thing you can do with your agency is to love someone enough to belong to them."
-Eric d'Evengee


hear you me

May Angels lead you in.

miss you more everyday, Maddie.
spread your wings and fly, butterfly.


Snapshots on Sunday

I had the incredible opportunity to photograph my friends Sebasthian and Elysha this weekend. Sebasthian was Dustin's trainer and companion for five months this summer and Elysha is his sweet girlfriend who kept me sane during the long period of time I wasn't allowed to write to Dusty by listening to me and being my friend. I'm so grateful for these two! And they are my heros for making it through two years of Sebasthian being a missionary!


my state is better then your state

If you really knew me,

you would know that I'm not out to destroy anyone or anything. You would know that I love my friends and family with all that I have and that I'm willing to sacrifice everything and anything asked of me to support them. If you really knew me, you would know that I tear up at allstate commercials and that I like to cook using a crock pot. And that when I go up the stairs, I cry because my knees work. And that I tend to see life better through a camera lens and that diagramming a sentence correctly makes me feel like I can succeed in life. You would know about the guilt I struggle with about surviving cancer and the insecurities I have about my scars and disfigurations. If you really knew me, you would know that when a good song comes on the radio, I roll my windows down and laugh because I remember that I'm alive. You would know that I bend, but rarely break and that I stand up and fight for what I believe in. If you really knew me, you would know that I believe in love and in miracles and in hope and in God. And that I have a testimony of the LDS church and in missionary work. You would know that I believe in forgiveness. If you really knew me, you would know that I'm not dumb and that I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday. And that I'm an English major, and that I can read in between the lines. If you really knew me, you would know how much your disapproval and dislike tears me apart. You would know how many tears I have shed over feeling so misunderstood. You would know how many times I have fallen to my knees in prayer for comfort and guidance about what to do and how to act and what to say. You would know how genuinely hard I am trying to make things better and the dread I carry with me all of the time because they aren't.

If only you really knew me.


Right Next 2 U

I pray to God every day, to keep you forever. 


Meticulous Markings

The horizon reaches up to meet the sky
and for a moment, they are united.
they are one.

I'm okay on my own.

Mama Bear Part 2

This was waiting for me in my inbox when I got home tonight.

You are going to China, Belle!   This is your "mission"- 


So simple, so encouraging, and everything I needed to hear in that moment. Today has been interesting. I've been all over the place. It doesn't matter why and I'm not going to write about it because that wouldn't get me anywhere. But really. My mom is seriously the best. And no matter how rough my days are, or how discouraged I get or how hurt I feel sometimes, I know I can get through it because I have a mom who believes in me and who is willing to sacrifice anything to make my dreams come true. I never want to take her for granted.

I am from New Hampshire. And I'm gonna see it all.

starting with China.

mama bear

can i tell you about my mom?

she never lets me give up. she pushes me past what i think i'm capable of. she encourages me. she believes in me. and she does everything and anything to make my dreams come true.

and i hope i can be half the woman she is someday.


oh hey

even though my daddy was a grumpy pants tonight, I still got to hug him. And now I'm having a sleep over with my wittle sister. So happy!


Rain and Books

It's been rainy today and it smells like fall. I'm ordering my 2nd generation Kindle right now (I decided I didn't want to wait for the kindle touch to come out and that i didn't need to spend that much money on something just to have a touch screen) and I'm looking forward to when it comes. I want to curl up with a good book and a cup of herbal tea and read forever. I love being an English major. I love that I finally have figured out what I'm doing with my life.


Lesson Learned

Being productive is good for me.

Hello October

It's crazy to think about what was happening a year ago in my life, and where I am now. A year ago, I danced with Dustin for the first time around a bon fire surrounded by friends. And today, he's serving a mission and I'm planning for China, but he's still my very best friend. I love it. I've been nostalgic lately. I love Autumn and the way the air feels during this time of the year. It reminds me of apple picking and breezes and the sound of dry leaves in the wind. It's perfect.

current guilty pleasure: The Sing-Off
current color: Black
current playlist: BYU Vocal Point 
current read: The New York Trilogy
current drink: Water
current food: Sniders Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzels
current favorite show: Glee!
current wish list: Kindle from Amazon (I'm waiting for the Kindle Touch 3g to be released!)
current needs: Mail
current triumphs: Grilled Cheese!
current bane of my existence: Jenzabar Reports
current celebrity crush: Ryan Reynolds
current indulgence: Costa Vida
current blessing: General Conference
current outfit: Skinny jeans and a blue shirt..
current excitement: Dad and Ashley coming to visit this weekend! 
current mood: Sleepy.
current link: attack of the cute


star crossed lovers

But if destiny decided you should look the other way.
then the world would never know the greatest story ever told,
and did I tell you that I love you, tonight?


my rock and my stone.

I know I've written about these two before. But I feel the need to express, once again, how incredibly important they are to me.

Symone is my rock. She's been there for me through thick and thin for over three years now. She is patient with me and she grounds me when I'm losing my mind. She puts up with my ridiculousness and my difficulties. 

Jillise is my stone. She makes me laugh and she listens to me when I'm about to explode. She validates my feelings and lets me feel them. She calms me down and helps me to see when I'm being dumb. 

These two ladies have been in my life for over three years now and I would be so lost without them. They say that a place is only as good as the people in it are, and because these two have been my roommates, friends and sisters, Idaho is one of the best places I have ever been to. 

So grateful for the opportunity Symone and I had to go visit Jillise this weekend. We laughed a lot and stayed up late, talking about life. And we ate a lot. And I was happy.


The Swingset Chain

You're a dandelion seed
That flies through the air
And lands randomly
Then disappears


in a bullet proof vest

So you lost your trust, and you never should have.


the thing about my dad is...

...that he listens to me when I'm sad. And when I tell him that I am afraid to chase my dreams, he tells me that I can do it, even if I am doing it on my own. And when I question myself, he reminds me that I endured a heck of a lot to be where I am, and that I shouldn't short change myself just because I'm down. And when I tell him about how disappointed I am or how lonely I feel or how much pressure I'm under or how I am so afraid to be left behind, he doesn't talk about rainbows or butterflies to make me feel better. He says: "I know you are." And sometimes, that is better then unicorns and fluffy animals. Sometimes, having someone just understand and then stand by protectively while I feel that way is better then anything else. And then he tells me he will be out here in a couple weeks and he'll take me to see the Tetons and Yellowstone and he'll give me a great big hug and tell me: "I know you are."

And that is better then anything else.


And we shed what was left of our summer skin

Cazz and I; we used to go for long drives on afternoons when the sun was bright and the wind was warm. And as I walked into my apartment today after a long day of being inside of an office, all's I could think of was how much I missed hot piece of metal of mine and the sheer sense of freedom that he gave me when I rolled down my windows, turned up the music and took a left instead of a right. Flat fields and clear skies and being one with the golden fields colored by September. I long for that. Yearn for it. It is when I feel the most peace and the most alive, all in one moment.

Today, Paige called me and told me that she wanted to go for a drive, because it was so stinking beautiful out.

And within three minutes she was at my apartment, and we had the windows rolled down and there was no destination, although we eventually ended up at the haunted swings in the back fields of Idaho. It's a single solitary patch of grass, surrounded by trees and two old wooden swings hanging from a rusted frame. And Paige and I sat and swung life away and let the Indian sun warm our backs and we talked about boys and first kisses and futures and how glorious these kinds of days are, when the wind is warm and the sun is slowly setting. And even though I had homework and Paige had a sore throat, it didn't matter. For a few minutes, there wasn't a single care in the world.

I really like the way Idaho makes me feel sometimes.
I'm busy and stressed and my soggy chemo brain is trying to retain so much,
but when I'm sitting in the middle of these vast potato fields, with a good friend and the sun,
everything is okay.
Everything will work out.

Happy Monday.


The Things They Carried

'That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."
-Tim O'Brien

on faith

"Reason can only be stretched so far, but faith has no limits.”


about this weekend

first of all, I love Fridays. It means no homework pressure when I come home, it means a quiet afternoon at the office, and it means staying up late and sleeping in.
Yesterday was Friday. and I did not love it one bit yesterday morning.
You see, the internet was being dumb, my tummy was being dumb, my chemo brain was being dumb (which means I forgot what I did with my debit card within five minutes) and my attitude was being dumb.
But then, I went to work, and Sam was nice to me. And Symone found my credit card and then brought me Costa Vida. And I had mail waiting for me when I came home, including a super cute thank you card from my primary class I taught this summer, and a few more pages and pictures to add to the greatest story ever told. And then, last night, Symone and I went out with Mark, Jaron and Jared. We drove around in Mark's ancient Volvo and went out to the back fields of Rexburg and star gazed and relived all of our favorite memories together from fall 2008. We talked about banana bombs and Yellowstone and dying Mark's sideburns pink and driving out to the civil defense caves at 1 in the morning. We laughed a lot. I saw a shooting star and we sang to Forever the Sickest Kids on the way home. It was a perfect night with old friends and memories to keep me warm. I was happy.
My brother opens his mission call tonight.
My world is changing, but it is still very much the same.
And I'm happy.


I am an angry bee

Internet issues, you drive me insane. Especially since I am paying more than anyone else to live in Rexburg. Fine, don't give me cable. Fine, don't give me a mail room, a lounge, a study room, a work out room. but really. If you are going to charge me 1300 dollars for the semester, at least give me some internet. Please and thank you.



I'm going to do my homework in five minutes, I promise.
but first, I just want to say that the "epic soundtrack" radio station on Pandora is rocking my world.


In and Out

IN: Thai Food. USPS. Crock Pots. Glee. Post Modern Literature. Heels. Lists. Photos. Cookies at the Crossroads. Acapella. Waterfall Braids. MIKA. Kindles. Costa Vida. Fall. Hot Cocoa. Chapstick. Lotion. Nicki Minaj.

OUT: Rent. Loans. Anything money related. Online Classes. Textbooks. Toes. Shoes without arch support. Hair dye. Frozen meals. Cable. Planners. Mailboxes. White Boards. Sharpies. Thumb tacks. Jenzabars. Eyebrows.


Vocal Point

Um, remember how I am totally in love with BYU's Vocal Point? I've seen them live twice since going to school here, and both shows have literally taken my breath away. And nowww they are on The Sing Off! Check out their sheer awesomeness and talent


getting my act together

Tomorrow is the start of making goals, organizing myself and owning this semester. I am pumped.
Things have been crazy for me. I've had an interesting and overall weird week; adjusting to being back, to not having Cazz, to not living with Misao or the Klenotiches, and to having a bunch of old faces back in the burg. And, I've been terribly homesick for New England, my family and Zion's Camp. It's amazing how hard it is to adjust to living a life of service for four months straight, and then having to go back to the real world. I bet it's just a tiny bit of what a full-time missionary feels like when they get back.
Admist all of the craziness, I have found so many blessings and tender mercies that have made my life so beautiful while going through this transition period.

1. My new roommates. I'm such huge fans of them! My room roommate, Sarah, is so great! We've only been together a week and I already feel like we've known each other for a long time. And I really love Whitney, who has a similar sense of humor as me. Kristen is so stylish and we like all of the same music and places, so we always have something to talk about. McKell is such a sweetheart and Summer has an awesome movie collection. I feel welcome here and like I belong to a little family.

2. My Alumni Office team. I love the girls I work with and I get along with all of them. It's so refreshing to go to work and not feel left out or like everyone is in a clique. We all went out to Craigo's this last week and we had SO MUCH FUN! We laughed a ton and Sam and I ate so much wing pizza, we were bursting at the seams. My boss is so kind and generous and I am so grateful to have a job on campus and to have friends in the office.

3. My Idaho family, especially Misao. Being reunited with Symone has been one of the best things to happen to me since I've been back. Seriously, that girl understands me better than I understand myself. A typical conversation goes like this:

Me: "Well, I was thinking that we could do the...you know...place that i like...food?"
Misao: "Sure, we can go after class. But I have to get one of those pshh...pshh...things."
Me: "Right, we can pick one up at Walmart."

We don't have to speak in complete sentences or even in real words to know exactly what the other one is saying. It's so great. And I'm so grateful that she takes care of me and gives me a reality check and my twin.

4. The Patriots won today. and Mom watched the game on NESN with me on the phone and she gave me a play by play account during the fourth quarter.

5. Only the best letter I've ever received in the last five months from my best friend, who I am so proud of.

6. Being able to walk to campus without having any pain or limping. I've never felt better.

7. Long conversations with Julianna and plans to go to Boise to see Jillise

I'm very blessed and I'm very happy to be here. I'm still adjusting to a lot, but it'll smooth out soon.
Happy Sunday!


i would like to vent

but instead, I'm just going to hunker down with a movie that makes me feel better and hope that tomorrow is easier. I knew it would be different and it would take time for me to adapt, so I just need to accept it and do my best.

on being obedient.

Summer: "I have a package for your roommate"
Me: "Oh...no letters, huh?"
Summer: "No...but I do have a letter for a "Chelsabelle"?"
Me: *screams like a banshee*

"I'm glad we were 100% obedient this summer, so that this time when we could write again could be so special!"


onions and tears

I decided I wanted to make real meals this semester. And on top of that, I decided I wanted to master the crock pot. There is just something so appealing to the thought of putting a whole bunch of ingredients in a pot in the morning, turning it on and then going to class and work and coming home eight hours later and it being ready to eat! This morning, I chopped up potatoes, onions and carrots and dumped them all in the crock pot on top of a roast, added some seasoning and turned it on low. When I come home from work, I hopefully will have a yummy pot roast ready to go!

As I was chopping up my onion today, my eyes started to sting and burn and water up. Of course, I thought, I'm chopping onions. But after I had put everything in the pot and had sat down to work on some homework, my eyes were still full of tears. It's like I needed to chop an onion to get the anxiety that's been building up to finally release. This has been an emotionally overloaded week. I'm just not sure what to do with myself anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'm super happy to be back and I know I'm needed here. But it doesn't make the overload of emotions any less.

But I know it will all calm down in a little bit. I'll get into the swing of things and the mail will come and everything will be okay. I'm in love with Rexburg.