macbook Pro

well, the last 24 hours have been very eventful. After my computer crashed and burned, I spent 2 hours in SimplyMac yesterday, sharing my life story with Dave, the genius guy. And together, we came to the conclusion that: 
1. My computer was drawing it's last breath
2. My external hard drive may not be salvageable, but I won't know until I pay 300 dollars for them to do a recovery data scan
3. I need something reliable for China

And so, I'm now blogging on this beautiful piece of machinery:

I was planning on replacing my computer this year, but not unit the fall semester. But, after everything that went down, I guess it was just time. As my Mom kept on saying:
"The timing stinks, but the timing is great"
because, can you imagine the trouble I would be in if my computer crashed completely while in China?
How on Earth would I complete my homework?


So, I guess it is a tender mercy at the end of the day.
One week until China. 


Um, Macbook, this is not cool

Okay, friends. In the last 48 hours, my computer has corrupted my external hard drive and has possibly destroyed all of my photos, documents and music that is stored on it. It has ejected a memory chip all on it's own in the process of me copying files from it, and that caused it to destroy all of the data on it and made me reformat the card. And it seems as if my charger has become shotty and only wants to charge my computer when it wants to. Also, the internet has crashed at least five times a day.

So basically. I'm freaking. Because I'm about to go to China, and I'm taking on line classes, and if my computer has a melt down over there, I am screwed.

So, what do I do about this? Take it to a specialist and see if they can fix it and make it last? That will cost me money, for sure, especially since I'm out of my warrenty now. Do I just go to a store and buy myself a new computer with my credit card and pay it off in the fall with my loan money?

I'm so stressed out.




Long day of traveling.
Heartbreaking loss of photos on my hard-drive.
Stress of having to lose 20 lbs from a suitcase before flying internationally.
Sore from dragging 120 lbs of suitcase weight.
Sad at having to say goodbye to my family this morning.
Content at being here with Juli and Jord for a week.
Hopeful that the mac people will be able to recover my files.
and so unbelievably and perfectly happy about the letter that was waiting for my arrival.


full of wonder

I can't believe I'm leaving New England tomorrow. I mean, I know I've left before to go to school for long periods of time, but I can't believe I'm leaving tomorrow and when I come back, I will have seen the other side of the world. I wonder how I feel, the next time I'm in this bed. I wonder how many new friends I'll have, and if I'll cry because I miss my kids so much. I wonder if I'll have a hard time adapting to America again and if I'll be 10 lbs lighter from weight that I lost. I wonder where I'll be in my life and if I'll still be okay with my career choice after I come back. I wonder what cool things I will have seen and what weird things I will have eaten and what awkward stories I'll be bursting to tell.

I'm so excited to go to China.

And, as weird as this is, I'm so excited to come home too. Because New England sets my soul on fire, and my heart will always belong here.

But I wonder, in six months, if a part of it will belong to China too.


Let's talk about

How I'm leaving for Utah on Saturday to see Jules and Jord for a while before I leave for China. And how all of a sudden I'm realizing I have to say goodbye to my car, my home, New England and my family in a day and a half. Not a fan of that.

Let's talk about how I'm going to CHINA in LESS than TWO WEEKS! And how I still have a buttload of stuff to do; like organizing my paperwork, school work, additional training, last minute shopping, and crafting and typing out detailed instructions for my mom about how to access my different accounts.

Let's talk about how packing to live across the country is basically impossible to do in two suitcases under 50 lbs. Especially when I have to pack for winter and summer. And when I'm expected to bring one suitcase full of supplies for my kids and how I'm pretty sure I have more than that and I still don't think it's enough.

Let's talk about how fantastic my grandparents are. They took me to AC Moore today and helped me finish buying supplies for teaching. And then we went to TJ MAXX and they helped me find some nice dress pants. And then they took me out to lunch. And I love them a lot.

And finally (although I already blogged about this) let's talk about how today marks the half way point for Dustin's mission. And now it's all down hill from here. I'm so excited to know that starting tomorrow, it will be less than a year until he's home. And let's talk about how I have a package from him waiting for me in Utah. And let's talk about how much I love that man of mine. I love him.

okay. with that all said and done, I'm going to bed. I have a ton to do tomorrow.



One year

One year, 12 months, 365 days, 8,760 hours ago, I made one of the toughest goodbyes I've ever had to make. My life completely changed as I watched my best friend leave for two years to serve a mission for the LDS church and I had to learn how to adapt to his absence after living a life that was used to his constant presence.

And here I am, exactly a year later from the day I told Dustin that through a telescope lens, I'd see him soon. And yes, I'm so different from the girl I was that day. I've grown so much over the last year; I've learned the importance of service and the importance of sacrifice. I've learned how important it is to fight for my dreams and to fight for those I love.

And I know Dusty is different too. He's learned so much from the last year of serving the Lord and through the circumstances he's been placed in. I've seen, first hand, the difference he's had on the lives he's touched and it's been incredible. He's truly making a difference here, in New England.

But here is the thing: we still grew together. And at the end of the day; after a whole year of letters (and five months without anything) I can still confidently say that he knows me better then anyone else. And that he continues to inspire me and teach me every day. I am the best version of myself I have ever been because of him and the profound impact he has had on my life. And I think that's what real love really is: when he helps me to be the best version of myself without taking away who I am on my own. Did that make sense?

Basically, I love him. And now I only have a year left until I get to have him back; and words cannot describe how excited I am for that moment. But, until then, I am excited to see what this year holds for us and the lessons we'll continue to get to learn and teach each other.

Happy 1 Year, Elder Carr!
And through a telescope lens, 
I'll see you soon.


In Five.

1. Patriots are going to the Superbowl. I get to watch the Superbowl with McKell. Basically, I couldn't ask for a better situation.

2. I'm leaving for Utah this Saturday! AH! I have so much to do, to buy and to pack. But, I'm excited to finally be taking a step closer to getting to China. And, I just found out today, that I have a surprise waiting for me for when I get over there and out of the "no writing" zone. YAY!

3. I have to get a Malaria and Typhoid shot tomorrow. Boo and Bullfrogs.

4. China. China. China. China. China. China. China. China. China.

5. I saw We Bought A Zoo today with my grandfather. It made me cry, a lot. But I loved every second of it.


iPod problems

Who wants to give me a new iPod because mine can't hold a charge anymore and the thought of facing long plane rides and train rides in China without Bon Iver to whisk me away to a magical place scares the snot out of me?


You are 16

My little sister turned 16 today and as I write this, all of my "adopted" brothers and sisters (I have six of them) are sitting in the kitchen, yelling and screaming and laughing while playing spoons. It's great to see my sister so happy and to watch her grow up but I can't help but wonder:

In five years, what would she want to tell her sixteen year old self? What advice does she need now?


Just a couple of things:

1. I like emails from friends. It's almost as exciting as real letters.

2. Turns out I really like painting walls. I spent five hours painting the main entrance hall at the Kelly's beautiful 1970's restored Tavern home and I loved every minute of it.

3. My flight for China is booked! I got my itinerary yesterday! AHHH! And I get the added bonus of seeing Seoul during a 9 hour layover between LA and Weihai. I'm beyond stoked. I'm really going to China, people.

4. I'm leaving for Utah on the 28th to see Julianna and Jordan before I leave. I'm trying to get up to Rexburg to see Symone and to see my team at work as well. And, I just found out that I have the fantastic bonus of seeing my roommate and NFL buddy, McKell, in time for the SUPERBOWL (that hopefully my Patriots will be playing in). So, yay for that!

5. Tomorrow I get to go paint, go grocery shopping for Mom, go get my wisdom teeth looked at, go visiting teaching with Mom and somehow cram in all my homework. Busy bee=happy camper.


On a lighter note:

Let's talk about these rad sunglasses I got from Forever21 the other day for 5$

Or about this classy watch that my Auntie Renee gave to me five years ago when I got sick and it was too big for my wrist and how my dad took it to work today and used his super high-tech aerospace machine to take a pin out and make it smaller so it now fits my wrist!


Also, Sister Chen (A sister missionary serving in my church from Taiwan) taught me how to each with chop sticks. I'm now completely prepared for China.

This was an awesome hair/bang day. I wish it cooperated like this every day.
So long. My hair is getting to be so long.

Let's talk about this song, which is currently stuck in my head and how I'm totally okay with it, because it is brilliant (and this music video is awesome):

And how today, Bruno Mar's "It will rain" was playing on all four of my favorite radio stations. At the SAME time! ENOUGH, PEOPLE! I've had ENOUGH of that song.

And finally, let's talk about how great it is to open my photo booth up and see this lovely surprise that Jillise must have left me during Thanksgiving break.
She's so cute! I like her a lot.

Happy MLK day, people. I spent today with Kaleb and Jack while scraping wallpaper glue off a wall at the Kelly's, taking Cazz for a long drive up to Merrimac to pick up my camera charger at my Auntie M's and then taking a nap on my grandparents' couch before coming home to a warm fire and a lovely family.

And you know what else?
In a couple of weeks, I get to start writing to my best friend again.



I hate broken promises.


Patriot Nation

I love being a New Englander for many reasons, but one of them is because of how strong the pride runs here behind the New England sports. We love out Red Sox and we love our Bruins and we love out Celtics and we especially love our Patriots. I know I'm close to being home when flying back from school because my gate at the airport is the only gate filled with people wearing every logo of the four teams.

With the playoffs now in full tilt, running errands today at walmart, the mall and around town meant walking in a sea of Patriot's jerseys. It also means going to the store three times throughout the day to get snacks and soda for the big game. And it means spending four hours with my family, eating said snacks and soda and cheering for our Patriots and laughing our heads off as Mom explains to everyone how Gronk (our tight end) clearly took ballet lessons.

I love being part of Patriot Nation. I love being a New Englander. I love being home.

Fall in love

with the world.

After quitting his job, photographer and artist Kien Lam took a trip around the world. Over the course of a year, he visited 17 countries and took 6,237 photographs. Wanting to share his epic journey with others, Lam put his photos together to create a kind of time-lapse video. In a little less than five minutes, viewers are treated to beautiful shots of the U.S., England, France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru.


in this moment

I need to talk to you more than anything or anyone else right now. 
And I hate that I can't. 
At all.
I can't talk to you at all right now.
And today, I hate that.

I'll never be able to express this fully:

I miss you.

I just miss you. 
So. much.


Snow Day!

It finally snowed in New England and today I'm going to have a magical day that involves my awesome winter playlist, the life of pi, hot chocolate with mint and whipped cream, sweatpants and one braid down my back and sitting by the warm fire.

New England is magic, in case you were wondering. Pure magic. 


My Sister's Keeper

Sometimes I think about what would have happened if it wasn't curable. What would I have done if it had been caught later, if I had stopped responding to treatment, if it got to the point where I was signing up for experimental trials to open up, even though I knew there was no hope that they would work.

My prognosis was hopeful when I was diagnosed. Cancer hadn't spread, type was shown to respond well to treatment. Of course, it was still cancer. It was metastatic, but just because it hadn't spread, didn't mean it was going to be an easy ride. And it wasn't.

You'll never understand what it means to "fight for your life" until you are literally fighting to stay alive. What's funny is that it isn't even a conscious decision half the time. It happens while you are asleep; trying to escape from the nightmare that has become your reality. You let yourself slip away, grateful that you don't have to think about anything. And that is when the boxing gloves come out. Because who wants to give up the ability to dream?

I'm glad I didn't die. Sounds terribly blunt, but it's true. I feel like I should say something profound, but really, I'm just trying to grasp at facts that sometimes seem so unreal. My life is so close to normal now that I sometimes forget I had cancer. I had cancer. I had cancer. I had cancer. I forget about the sleepless nights, about the bald head, about being so sick that I thought my stomach was going to land in the toilet, about losing days at a time while being in a drugged induced coma, about the last time I went up the stairs without having to think twice about knees or bones or breathing. Sometimes it all seems so blurry and unreal. Sometimes it all seems so horrible that I choose not to remember.

But it happened. I had cancer.

And I think that it's okay to forget about terrible things that happen to us sometimes. I've learned that if you hold onto something so scary too tightly, you'll never be able to swim forward. You'll just carry a boulder on your back until you sink so deep you lose sight of the shore. But here's the truth: terrible things happen. And sometimes you can come back from them fast. And sometimes it takes a long time to pick up all of those pieces and glue them all together. And even after you put that last piece in, you're still cracked. You are not the same.

Being different is okay, though. You catch the light differently, form new shapes and surfaces and create new textures. And that's the beauty of it all. If you go through that painstaking process of picking up all those shards and gluing them back together, you become different; you become better. You become a kaleidoscope of everything you were and everything that you could have become, mixed with everything you are now. If you let yourself, you cant take those pieces of a beautiful piece of artwork and turn it into a masterpiece.

I'm a five year cancer survivor and I'm still coming back. I'm still putting my pieces together. I'm cracked and scarred and sometimes things happen that ruin a lot of the work I've done. But I won't let that stop me. When I'm tired, I simply close my eyes and let the boxing gloves come out while I escape to some magical place. It helps me remember that I am still full of dreams and I never want to give them up.

And so, when I wake up the next morning, I whisper to myself: "I will try again today."


is what this song is.


I am better and I will be better.


Over five years later

and sometimes I still get a shock of surprise when I reach up to touch my head and find hair.
Being alive never ceases to amaze me. And I am grateful for every day that I wake up.

This, I believe...

That nothing is more comfortable then sitting by a wood stove in the winter.

That hot chocolate is better with whipped cream and candy canes.

That crock pots are necessary for every kitchen.

That knee socks and leggings should be worn all day, every day.

That the Patriots are the best team in the NFL, but Drew Brees Vick's vapor rub commercials are precious.

That wisdom teeth are over-rated.

That his service is blessing my life in ways I could never have imagined. And I'm so grateful for him.


A few things

1. Criminal Minds is addictive. And when there are marathons on, it typically means that I stay up late and get nothing done during the day. But I don't care, because I'm on vacation and my mind is still mush from finals week and it's nice to sleep in and not have to wake up stressed.

2. I'm so excited to be in China. Like, beyond. I can't believe I'm actually going. That being said, I'm frustrated with ILP. They still haven't booked our flights to China and keep pushing our departure date back. Now we aren't leaving until February 3rd, but that isn't even set in stone. How am I supposed to book my flight out to SLC to see Jules and Jord and Misao without having a set departure date? Exactly. I can't. UGH!

3. I love leggings. And I love wearing them all day and not having to change out of them.

4. I finished reading The Help this week and I highly recommend it. Highly. I gave a copy to Juli for Christmas and I only give Juli the best books for Christmas. I love having all the time in the world to read what I want. Next on my list is Life of Pi.

5. I am not a fan of snow. That being said, it hasn't snowed once in New England all winter, save the freak Nor'easter in October. And, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want it to snow! I want a day curled up in blankets and hot cocoa and books in front of my window while it is snowing out! I mean, I can do that now, but the snow adds a certain magical element that I love.

6. I love being on vacation. Even though I'm taking a couple online classes, I love. being. on. vacation.

Snapshots on Friday

A recap of the last two weeks of being home:


China Blog

I changed the format on my chelsieinchina blog so that you all can be official followers. Just hit the follow button! 

I leave in three weeks! Weihai isn't going to know what's hit it!

Resolutions of 2012

Things have been crazy this week with getting paper work done for my Visa. But here they are, none the less. My goals/resolutions for this year!

1. Learn a language.
I know it takes a lot of work and time to become fluent, but I would like to learn a language enough to have a basic conversation in it. Right now, I'm leaning towards French, but my time in China might change it to Mandarin. We'll see.
2. Become proficient in shooting with film.
My "older brother I never had" is letting me borrow his beautiful Cannon film camera with two lovely lenses. I just finished my first roll of film that I shot in complete manuel settings and I have no idea how they are going to come out. But I hope that by the end of the year, I will have film down pat.

3. Expand DSLR kit. (new lenses, better tripod)
I am craving a telephoto lens in the worse way for my kit. Unfortunately they are so expensive! So, I hope to save up and expand my DSLR kit by the end of the year.

4. Create a budget and stick to it!
In order to purchase new camera gear, I need to continue to be financially stable. I've done well with that this last year, but I want to take it one step further by creating a budget and STICKING to it for longer than a month.

5. Be able to jog for ten minutes straight.
I ran the other day for the first time in over five years. It was incredible. But my muscles are so weak and my hips are so ridden with arthritis that I couldn't go longer then two minutes before having to stop. I want to get my body in better shape and strengthen my muscles so that I can run for ten minutes straight.

6. Officially change my major and get on fast grad. Obtain a graduation date!
I know that when I get back from China, I'm going to be ready to be done with school. I need to get my butt to the academic advising office, get through the paper work to change my major officially to English Ed. and try to get my double minor approved. I need to apply and get onto Fast Grad, and then get a graduation date and then stick to my class plan to finish on time! I'm going to be in college forever if I don't!
7. Read Book of Mormon. Again!
Such a wonderful experience last year, I want to do it again, but keep a journal while doing it this time and develop a marking system.
8. Get weight down to 145 and maintain it. 
I'm at the "perfect weight" according to my doctor, but I would like to lose a few pounds and get fit. This means a regular exercise routine and just being healthier and eating healthier and then sticking to it.

9. Continue to stay secure and supportive.
I made it through a year of writing my missionary. It was harder then I ever though possible, but I've learned so much about myself, about God and about my relationship with him. I hope to continue to improve all of those relationships and to stay secure and faithful during the next year.

10. Go to a state I haven't been to before. 
Gotta drive Cazz back this summer to Idaho. Dad wants to stop in Omaha, NE to see his aunt. I want to see Mount Rushmore in SD. Either way, I should be able to cross off a state I haven't been to by the end of the year.

11. Become a pro with my crock pot.
I cooked three meals with my crock pot this last semester and I am hooked. I loved getting up, throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot, going to school and work all day and coming home to a ready to eat and yummy and HEALTHY meal. I must become pro at the crock pot. I want to make a meal with it every week in the fall if possible.

Well, those are my goals for 2012! A lot of them are a lot more tangible then last years, but that's okay. These are certain aspects of myself that I want to work on, things I want to improve and easily be able to see the results. I'm excited about these goals, excited to hold myself accountable for them by the end of the year. 

I know that this year holds challenges for me, but I also know that it holds blessings, miracles and opportunities to grow, learn and better myself. And I'm excited to see what those opportunities are. Bring it on, 2012. 



I like people who are passionate about things. It means they know what it's like to be alive.


Observations on 2011

I'm huge on resolutions. I love goals. I love outlining things I want to improve for myself. I love having things to work towards. I like giving myself a time frame to have something finished. I believe in setting goals and then working hard to obtain them.

I set goals frequently. I don't believe that I should wait to the beginning of the new year to change something, to start improving some aspect of myself. But I do like having long term goals. I check in on them often and at the beginning of ever new year, I first start by looking back at my goals from the year before and seeing how I shaped up.

My goals from 2011 were as follows.

1. Straight A's Winter semester.

Turns out I had mono and I had to handle the severe emotional distress of sending Duty on a mission. These details factored into a very stressful and difficult semester. But I still managed to pull off all A's and B's. So, good. I'm happy with this.

2. Do everything possible to be financially stable for this summer.
Cazz and I made it home in one piece and I paid for it. Success.

3. Knee Replacement
Yes. I did this. I faced my fears and I told my parents and my doctors that I could no longer live my life with the crummy knee I had. I fought hard for this knee replacement and then I fought hard through the most difficult surgery I've had, the hardest recovery I've had to go through and I made it out on the other end. I have a new knee. I have my life back. I am walking limp free. 

4. Write
Yes, minus the small wrench thrown into my plans to be a dedicated pen pal this summer. Other then that, I never missed a week as a pen pal to my missionary and turns out, I could possibly be a professional carepackage sender. Success.

5. Read the Book of Mormon
Yes. I did it back in March with my roommates and it was awesome. And now I'm doing it again. Success 

6. Pick Piano Back Up.
My knee surgery/summer at Zion kinda took up all my spare time this summer. I did get to sit down and play a little, but I didn't get to relearn like I wanted to. This is one I'll keep working on. 

7. Be Better with my Time
 I have a huge desire to give back to the people who gave so much to me.
Zion's Camp. Every Day. All Day. No time for time wasting things when there is service to preform. Check.

8. Take Better Care of My Body

1. Sleep more. -SO SUCCESSFUL WITH THIS! I kicked Mono in the butt at the beginning of this year and this last semester I was in bed between 10 and 11 almost EVERY night. 
2. Eat better. Eh, not so much. I need to keep working on this. 
3. Swim. During the summer, yes. Back at school? Not once. =[ 
4. Take care of my knee. Know when to say no. Know what the limits are and what adjustments need to be made. Make good choices about how far to push it. Okay, I might have pushed myself a little too much when I first started walking again. But I have gotten better at this. 

9. Grow out my hair and stop dying the heck out of it!
hahaha...well...I'm not sure I'm ever going to be able to stop dying it...I think I dyed it a total of nine times this year. BUT I HAVEN'T CUT IT DRASTICALLY! So, baby steps, right?

10. China
I am leaving in approx. 26 days to go teach English in China for five months. Check. Check. Check.

11. Stay Secure
When I wrote this last year, I never dreamed of the trials and test of my faith and security in my relationships that 2011 would hold for me. And after everything I faced with Dusty's reassignment, I am proud and thankful to be able to say that we are stronger then ever and I am more secure in my friendship with him then I ever have been before.

I know I've already written about 2011. But I feel the need to say that it was hard. It was harder then I ever imagined it to be. And there were days when I thought I couldn't do it anymore; when my life was so hard that I didn't want to fight anymore. But, I'm a cancer survivor and sitting out of a battle just doesn't fly, even when I'm ready to give up. I am proud of the battles I fought this last year. I am proud of the things I accomplished. I am so thankful that Heavenly Father gave me the strength to accomplish the impossible; to go through my knee replacement, to heal five months faster then originally thought, to become a five year cancer survivor, to become an instrumental piece in the operation of Zion's Camp, to guide me to make the choice to go back to school in the fall and to stay faithful during Dusty's reassignment and the trials that it brought both of us. 2011 was hard. But every battle I fought during it was worth it. And I am thankful for my life and for being alive and for living through it all.

My life is a miracle. At the beginning of every year, I realize that I'm receiving a gift. Another year that I wasn't supposed to have; that cancer was supposed to take from me. But it didn't. I won. I'm alive. And life is so beautiful.

Stay tuned for my resolutions for 2012!

from 2007

Back in the day
where there were only shades of grey
you took my hand
and you lead the way

and now you sit on the corner of the street
humming the tune of a meaningless beat
my shadow is dim, my hand is small,
but I promise this:
I will never let you fall.