Birthday Weekend

Birthday Weekend in Photos!

Misao and I at Cafe Rio:

The car crew! Misao, Sylvia, Luke and Pablo!

After dropping off Luke and Pablo in Logan, we picked up Jillise in Salt Lake!

I got to spend my birthday evening with my best friend, Juli, her husband, Jordan and his parents, who are like second parents to me. They made me birthday brownies and got my favorite icecream!

Beth and Bishop got me a book on China to help me get ready for teaching there next year!
Juli and Jord got me a "Grow Your Own Butterfly Garden!" So precious!

This is my best friend. 

some things never change. Especially after we've been separated for a few months

Jillise and the best frosting ever!

Jillise and Symone made me my favorite cake! Yellow with Chocolate frosting!

Saturday, Juli and I spent a couple hours in Hobby Lobby. Typical for us.

Then Bishop and Beth took us all out to Pizza Pie Cafe for lunch!

We met up with Ian and Heidi, who are also from my home ward!

Then, Juli and I picked up Symone and Jillise and we went to the festival of colors in Spanish Fork, UT!
This is us all clean, waiting for the shuttle to take us to the Hindu Temple

We were splattered with chalk within a few minutes of getting to the temple! People couldn't stand us being clean!

This is us before the throwing. 

And this is me after the throwing! 

And this is me at the very end of our day! Covered in chalk!

Jillise, Symone and I went to Ihop later that night to eat dinner. It was a sucky experience with the waitress, but we had fun drinking chocolate milk and pancakes.
This is Misao, laughing at something.

best birthday weekend. ever.
plus, i got the most beautiful lilies from my missionary.
he remembered that those are my favorites. so precious.


color my world

if i could take that ride on the dirt bike down the hill;
you know the one,
 you drove too fast, on the last warm day of fall.
i still remember the last of the sun beams hitting my back and you screamed
"I love you!"
for the whole world to hear.

and if i could take that moment i stood on top of the world, 
with nothing but new england air and the smell of birch trees in late fall.
the lingering of morning dampness in the creases of my elbows and the
smell of pine on fire and bacon popping over the griddle...

and if i could take the feeling of winter's chill wrapped around my home
and the gentle roar of the fire in the iron vault
and the soothing rumble of a kitty's content purr
pressed against my toes...

and if i could take that evening thunderstorm rolling over the atlantic ocean
over the beach and out towards the heavens,
my feet resting on the railing, cracked with old blue paint
and sprinkled with a few stray raindrops,
the crests of the waves illuminated in split seconds of blinding truth
the rush of tides pounding in time with the rumble of the storm...

and if i could take that jeep ride in the summer rain
and the day you told me you loved me
if i could take the words: "your hair will grow back now"
and winding roads of yellowstone...
if i could take the sunrise over the caribbean in late april,
and the taste of hazelnut hot cocoa on a harsh winter's day
and if i could take the warmth of my dad's hug
and your smile pressed into my cheek
and late afternoon naps in spots of sunshine

if i could take those moments and memories
and use them to color my world,

i think i would look a little something like this:


the last poet standing.

i chased the sunset today
and i remembered the days when we would chase it together
and it was you and me and me and you,
watching the sun cut itself open and bleed
across the sky and sink down below the shark teeth of the horizon.

sometimes that melody of ours builds up inside of me that i just scream it outloud,
i turn it around and inside out and updside down and
i put words backwards and throw one up and three to the right.
i whisper it to the quiet of your memories that i squeeze from myself
and follow it across to the ghost of your shadows 
on the brick walls that memorized our figures in the red stone on the night you knew you loved me.

the harmony of your heart still echos in the hollow of my ear,
vibrating in my vertebrae and fitting tightly in the gaps between my rib cage where
empty spaces now ache for the heat of your hands and long for
the way the ridges of your spine rose into the spaces between my fingers like
a well worn trail in the smoldering deep of the forest that only you
and i know about.

i'm screaming that melody for you to hear as i drive down the hill that
we used to drive every night with the windows down and my feet hanging out the left side.
you always went to fast and the brakes always held us
from meeting the glass but even if they didn't,
we would have made it through the crash, with our hands
woven together, carried away in the chords
of that song you used to sing to me
as i feel asleep.

sometimes i sit by myself at the top of that hill and i put
the car in park because i don't want the brakes to go out on me without you and
I reach out and cut the sun with my dry fingertips and watch it bleed across the sky,
hoping that it will leave you a trail of red to follow
and i turn our words upside down and inside out and turn them
over and over and over again.

but the melody stays the same
and i send it to the bleeding sun and watch the notes engrave themselves in the wisps of
the sky and i watch the saw teeth swallow the last of the light whole and i
hope where ever you are, that the sun will stain your skin with those notes,
repeating them back to you and etching them
into the ridge of your back bone where my fingers are supposed to be, drumming out the rhythm
for you to repeat back to me against my rib cage
reminding you of where home is.

and until you come back to the top of the hill, i will
continue to cut that sun open every night and turn our words on top of their selves
and hum that melody that holds me together while the spaces of my body where you belong are vacant,
waiting for your harmony to fill them up,
waiting for you to come home.






i hate this part, right here.


i'm just so tired. won't you sing me to sleep?


This, I believe:

God is in the Details.

Be Still and Know that I Am.


for my mom.


planet earth and teachings of the living prophets homework=perfect quite night.


New England Bound in 23 Days!

I'm going to be hugged by my Daddy in 23 days. 
And I get teary just thinking about it. I am SUCH a Daddy's girl.
and after a nice long drive across the country, I'll be back in New Hampshire in 25 days. 

And then it's just me and the birch trees and rock walls and windy roads; the ocean and the mountains, and everything that sets my soul on fire.

I'm beyond excited.
I'm coming home.


Photography Class.

Every time I go to my photography class, I come home wanting to take pictures forever.
I am so inspired by the people who come to talk to us, by my adorable professor, by the students who surround me and by the way my camera fits in my hands.
I'm aspire to be a photographer.


Happy Birthday, Maddie Girl.

16. That's how old I was when I met you. Life was foggy that day. Heck, life was foggy every day. The constant in and out routine, my nurses so punctual in administering the medicine, the pulsating beep of the IV. There was no need for details. Everything that surrounds that hour I spent perched on your bed doesn't exist in my memory. It's just empty. Not dark, shadowy, or black. It doesn't exist. I simply didn't exist. Sometimes I would disappear for hours, other times days, returning for a few minutes here, or an hour there. I don't remember you moving into the other half of the room. I don't remember waking up. I don't even remember getting out of bed, or being introduced to you or sitting on your side of the bed. It's all gone. It's like trying to hold water in my cupped hands. I know I started at one point with hands full of water, but before I know it, I am just left with drops. Just a whisper of something that once was, but will never be there again. I know it must have happened, because I do remember sitting on your bed. Your hair was so thick and shiny and beautiful, although I knew you hadn't brushed it for a day or two. You looked so small sitting there. I must have looked so alien, so foreign to you. My eyes had sunken into my face a little from all of the weight I had lost and the last of my eyebrows and eyelashes had fallen out a few weeks before. But you didn't show any sign of fear or disgust. Your voice was steady as you asked questions and as I answered them honestly, I can clearly remember the look of determination on your small little face.

9. That's how old you were when I met you. The day you came into the other half of my room and became my fellow fighter; my little sister. You were sassy and spunky and refused to own any article of clothing that wasn't pink. And later that night, when I disappeared from the world once again; swept away in my own harsh fight with death; grasping onto my life with my hands as hard as I could, you whispered to your mom your fears and your sorrows. And when your mother asked you what you would wish for when your Make-A-Wish came around, you quietly told her: "For my new friend, Chelsie, to get better."

13. That's how old you would have turned today. You probably would have started wearing make-up and liking boys. You would still be wearing pink. You would be giving your mom a run for her money. You would have been so sassy and just as spunky. I think of you every day. When I am down and lonely, or when I am overwhelmed, or when I just can't fight it anymore, I think of you. I think of your kindness and the beautiful person you were and the incredible selflessness to have wanted to wish for me to get better. God needed you back with him, but he saw it fit to grant you the wish for me to get better. He granted your wish. And every day, I wake up and want to make your wish worth it.

21. That is how old I'll be next Friday. I graduated high school, and now I'm in my third year of college. I am almost five years cancer free. I'm studying to be an English Teacher! You would have liked that; you loved stories. I've been to California and Oregon and I've seen the Grand Tetons. I've made incredible friends and I fell in love. I have grown closer to my Savior and have slowly begun to understand that there was a reason why He granted your wish. I am still needed here. I hope that I make you proud. I hope that you know that I am doing my best. I am trying to be positive like you always were and to love unconditionally like you did. I'm living as best as I can in your memory.

Happy Birthday, Maddie Girl.
I love you.
i am exhausted and i am slowly realizing how much i have to get done in such a short amount of time.
but the letter in my mailbox yesterday reminds me that I can do this. that someone believes in me when i lose faith in myself. and that through Christ, anything is possible.


Productive Saturday

Massive Spring Clean out commenced this morning! Two giant bins packs, tons of stuff thrown away, books sorted, stuff donated to DI, storage unit rented, called my daddy, and shower taken. Now I am going to celebrate this morning's successes by going shopping with Symone, getting my free hazelnut hot cocoa from cocoa bean, and then coming home and settling into a nice homework night. Tomorrow I get to put my new photography skills to the test and photograph our neighbor's! I'm excited!

Happy Camper? Yep. I think so. Especially with calm and reassuring words from my Best Friend.


filters and tripods and lens, oh my!

I spent a good thirty minutes today looking at lens and filters and camera bags and tripods for my camera. I think I'm gonna splurge a little as a birthday present to myself and invest in some additional camera gear, because I'm falling head over heals in love with photography and my camera. Plus, Amazon.com has some pretty awesome deals, include a super fun macro/fish-eye lens for forty bucks made especially for my Alpha230! I'm also looking into some sweet macro filter sets that help a regular 18-55 mm lens shoot closer and clearer and into a sweet tripod so I can work on my long exposures! And since I officially have applied to the ILP to teach in China today, I've been researching camera bags, because I want a nice one for all of the potential traveling and sight seeing I'll get to do next year!

I'm super excited! The more serious I get into photography, the more I just want to take pictures forever! Seriously, I just seem to see better when I look through a lens.

Happy beautiful Thursday to you!


busy bee and a happy camper!

I love days like today when I wake up and I go.

Up at seven, at work for eight. Class at 10:15. Back to Work. Financial Aid office to figure out classes and loans for the fall. Classes and Loans for the fall figured out. Pay the rest of my rent. Pick up snacks for my missionary. Mail my missionary a fun little package and letter. Write a paper. Eat a sandwich. Talk to ILP. Finish ILP application. Call Bishop and email Sis. Allred for ILP references. Call Mom. Call Mom again. Call Mom for a third time. Figure out Passport, dentists and travel plans. Call Shannel and figure out more China plans. Clean living room and my room for clean checks. Run errands with Chelsea. Run to the store. Come home and finally eat something. Sit down at kitchen table with roommates and outline the rest of the week. Take a shower. Read the BOM. Bed.

Seriously, I haven't stopped going for longer then five minutes and I feel SO productive and accomplished. I am exhausted, but I'm so happy! Everything for China is falling into place, and it's really and truly going to happen. I am so so grateful for this incredible opportunity to go teach and serve the kids in China and to learn and grow while I prepare to go. I'm so excited!

I realized the other day that I am happy here. I'm not miserable. I'm not depressed. This happiness is totally different from last semester. It's a more individual happiness. Don't get me wrong, I miss Dustin terribly, but I can't let that rule my life. He's doing what he needs to be doing and I'm focusing on my life here. It's great and such an amazing learning experience. Attitude is everything, and Elder Carr and I are doing okay! I'm loving supporting my best friend and I'm loving learning all of this great stuff and I'm just happy. Happy Camper.

Moving along!


His laughter filled my room.

Dear Mr. Mailman,

Thank you for coming through for me today!

Love Always,

Chelsie Caroline.


this, i believe

i believe in rain that smells of spring, and in the sound of worn pavement underneath tires. i believe in classic stories and in long letters. i believe in change; the changing of seasons, of time and of people. i believe in good friends and in comfort food that wafts through the cracks of doors. i believe in love and in dedication and the combination of both.
most of all, i believe in miracles.