Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mountain Biking and Doing Hard Things

So speaking of bikes, Kevin and I went on another adventure yesterday - mountain biking! Mountain biking is like, well, riding a bike for Kevin, but it was a whole new world for me.

When we spontaneously decided to go mountain biking I thought, No big deal! It's just like it sounds, right? Just riding a bike, but in the mountains? I've been riding a bike basically my whole life. I didn't expect to be so SCARED. (Anyone with me here? Have you tried it??)

With minimal instruction (Kevin's approach to teaching is that they learn how to swim best when you just throw 'em in the pool), we were off on a narrow, rocky trail alongside a steeper hill than I was comfortable with. After a few minutes on the trail, our friend Russ who was with us and loves biking as much as Kevin, yelled back to me, "Are you having fun, Abigail?" 

"Not yet," was my reply. 

I get pretty determined in that sort of situation. It bugged me that I felt so afraid. It was a reminder of how long it had been since I went on an adventure that forced me to defy my fears! So I decided I was going to ride at least until I started having fun.

Fortunately, that moment came sooner than I'd expected. After falling a few times and forcing myself to relax ever so slightly on the bike I was riding, I began to feel more comfortable and even learned to control the bike a little bit. 

When it was all over, I felt accomplished. Happy. Strong. Pumped. Ready to do it again. 

I thought of a quote my mom sent to me a few weeks ago (and probably to most of you reading this) by Sylvia Rimm.

The surest path to positive self-esteem is to succeed at something which one perceived would be difficult. Each time we steal a student's struggle, we steal the opportunity for them to build self-confidence. They must learn to do hard things to feel good about themselves.

It's in the struggle that we grow and learn that we can do hard things!

So maybe you don't like mountain biking, or maybe you're not athletic. But what is something you'd like to do (or need to do) that you find challenging, daunting, or scary? Why don't you try it? I'll bet you can do it. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

It's Official! And learning to be married.


No, I'm not pregnant, so don't even think that. 

But this is pretty cool too.

I have officially accepted an offer to attend BYU's Master of Public Administration program, starting THIS fall. That's kind of a big deal.

While I found out I was accepted to the program a couple of months ago, Kevin and I were unsure if I would go. In fact, it was kind of a source of contention for awhile. See, I had planned on MPA school long before I even met Kevin. It was initially a backup plan, in case I wasn't married. But then the harder I worked for it and the more real it became, the more I wanted to do it anyway. 

In the meantime, Kevin and I got serious, and then engaged. Kevin was about to graduate and he had a different dream. He had planned to take a job wherever he had the best offer, not thinking that he would have geographical limits. In fact, for awhile it looked like we might be moving to the Midwest for him to work. The solution to this conflict became, Let's just see what happens and deal with it as it comes. But, being naturally selfish, I think we both secretly wished that OUR plan would win. The underlying question that we brushed on once or twice in our discussions was, Is it better to be single and achieve our goals separately? Or is it actually possible to be married AND somehow achieve our goals together? 

 As much as I wanted to go to grad school once I had the offer, I also wanted Kevin to be happy and I wanted to be unselfish. So through much prayer, thought, intense discussions, and counsel from others, I felt my heart change. It was wrenched into a place where it was initially uncomfortable - putting someone else's needs and desires above my own - but eventually settled and found great peace. I honestly wanted this job to work out. I felt anxious for Kevin and excited about the possibility of our lives together in the Midwest. It's not the end of the world if I can't attend MPA school right now, I told myself. There is more to life than grad school and other things to learn. Together, we decided that if this opportunity worked out for Kevin, we would take it. 

So when the opportunity fell through, I didn't know what to think. I was honestly disappointed - not only for Kevin but for me. I was not thrilled as I had thought I would be that I was now free to attend grad school. In fact, I was somewhat in denial about the situation at first. This can't be right, I thought. I felt good about this job. That is what was supposed to happen. So I still didn't accept the offer right away, even though Kevin encouraged me to. 

Up until just a couple days ago, I wasn't convinced I should go to grad school. It was Kevin who finally convinced me to just do it, because he saw how important it was to me.

* * *

Several weeks before Kevin and I were married, we met with one of our church leaders, who gave us the best marriage advice I received. He made us promise that we would be patient with each other as we learn to be unselfish. 

"Up to this point, life has been all about you," he explained to us. "The decisions you've made have been in your best interest. As you get married you will still be selfish. But as you learn to be selfless, that selfishness will leave you, making more room for you to love. That's why you hear couples who have been married for 30 years say, 'I love her more than I did the day I married her.'"  

* * *

For Kevin and I, we have decided that life is better together, even on our most selfish days. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014


The most important week in history was this week, less than 2,000 years ago.

Several years ago, at the end of summer 2010, I had the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ during his last week on earth. Talk about a powerful experience! Some of these places were already deeply imprinted on my heart from more than three months of living in Jerusalem; other places were new to me, familiar only from my personal study of Biblical accounts. All of them felt more real that last week in the holy land.

 My friends re-enacted the Last Supper. 

The Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus suffered. I love this picture because of the prominence of the tree. Did you know olive trees can live to be 2,000 years old? I sometimes like to wonder if Jesus saw some of the same trees I did. 

Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. 

Singing in the Garden Tomb, where Jesus was buried. 
For some reason I don't have many pictures from here. Only memories.

Knowing that His mortal ministry was coming to a close, Jesus spent the last week of His life teaching--both in intimate settings with His closest disciples and in more public places frequented by those who hated Him for threatening their own power. Here is when we find out what was most important to the mortal Messiah. Among other wonderful sermons, He

As Jesus taught truth, His enemies grew stronger and stronger in their hatred against Him. They couldn't outsmart Him, so they sought to destroy Him. He, who was omniscient and omnipotent, the only Being ever to walk this earth who had power over His own death, who could have infinitely put it off but didn't. Those set on killing Jesus were selfish but not ignorant. While they may not have comprehended the eternal consequences of their actions, I believe they did know what they were doing, and I feel sorry for them.

The week culminated in the greatest gift this world has ever been offered. Jesus institutes the sacrament, willingly suffers on our behalf for sins that He never committed but that we have and do and will, delivers Himself into the hands of His enemies, and suffers humiliation, before dying on the cross. Even then, He forgives those who have abused Him. All of that for US.

But the best part of the story is what we celebrate this Sunday, and every Easter Sunday. Even though Jesus Christ died, He LIVED AGAIN. Not in a raised-from-the-dead type of way, but in a perfect and glorious way. And not to return to this mortal life but to live forever in a place where He would never have to suffer or submit Himself to wicked men again. Because He overcame death, each of us will too.   

My life, my hope, my faith, my every day. It's all #BecauseofHim.

Painting by Simon Dewey. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why Bikes?

Kevin has a thing for bikes. 

He has had a bike as far back as he can remember. 

Isn't he cute on his tricycle? And that's just when he was little ;). 

As he got older, he got nicer bikes and started riding more. In college, he worked as a bike mechanic at BYU's Outdoors Unlimited. During the summer of 2010, Kevin trained for and rode in LoToJa, a 206-mile, one-day bike race from Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY. That is no easy task! 

Several years later, when we were engaged, he lived with his cousin and friend who love cycling just as much as he does. Together, their collection of road, mountain, and fixed gear bikes looks like this:

And I'm not even sure that's all of them. 

I also have a thing for bikes. 

Especially since serving an LDS mission in the Netherlands, where my bike was my main method of transportation. Oh, how I loved the fresh air and the exercise and the thrill of pedaling my little heart out to get to an appointment on time. 

See? Don't I like happy?* And the best part was that there are hardly any hills in the Netherlands. It was perfect for me!

So, of course, when I returned to the States after my mission, I wanted a bike just like my Dutch bike. I looked all over until I found her at Wal Mart! (probably the last place Kevin would ever buy a bike) I commuted on her until I got a car (which is also great, and much better for Utah winters). Here is where I would insert a picture of my beautiful red and white Schwinn if I had one. Maybe another day. 

One of Kevin and my first dates-ish was a tandem bike ride. 

Actually, two of our pre-date dates (meaning that it looked and felt like a date but pre-dated our official "first date") were tandem bike rides. And I just loved it, which may be part of the reason I love him so much. 

Since then, we have been on several other bike rides, but not as much as we would like because we've been awfully busy with planning a wedding and other stuff. Kevin is on the hunt for a used mountain bike for me though. Let me know if you have any leads!

At our wedding reception, guests took pictures with our bikes.

I really wanted to scrapbook pictures of our guests for our guestbook, and Kevin had the idea of using our bikes. So his wonderful sister, Christine, made darling "his" and "her" banners to hang on our bikes and we used those as props.

So as you can see, bikes are kind of our thing, and have played a significant role in the development of our relationship. Hence, the theme of this blog. 

So check it out. Browse our posts and pictures. You just may find something that interests you!

*Disclaimer: this is NOT the bike I rode all over the country. This bike ride was just for fun :). 

Monday, March 11, 2013

My roommates are FUNNY

I LOVE my roommates. Love love LOVE them. I love them because they are kind. I love them because they are good listeners and because they are fun. But I especially love hanging out with them because they are funny. When we are together, we laugh all the time. Only recently have we started documenting it.

"If I saw a cello now, I don't think I could even pick it up!"
"You don't pick up a cello!"

"What's an acronym for 'in case of emergency'? . . . ICOF . . . I?"

"People will get all up-in-arms about gun control."

(While being hometaught)
"So Henry Eyring was baptized in rainwater . . ."
"Brainwater?! I knew his family was scientists, but what does that mean?!"

"You should try out to say the prayer at a devotional." (that one came from a hometeacher)

"No, I'm not interested. He went running today, on Sunday."
"Yeah, I can see if he was running for exercise. I mean, I would understand running for his life..."

"Yeah, it was more fun when it was just the two of us." (roommate who was hanging out with a boy at the apartment)
"Really? I thought it was fun!" (roommate who was hanging out with them :)

"Wait...am I going to be living tomorrow in darkness?" (after we had covered our windows in aluminum foil for a date...maybe I'll tell that story later)
"No, you can just turn the lights on."

"So I'm not going to do anything risky or dangerous. Probably just touch his arm or something."

"Well, not to put a pinecone in your balloon, but..."

It's all about the little things

I found a job posting today that provided a website, but no email address. Except it took me a second to realize there was no email address because in the place where it would have been was this:


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Costco Experience

I almost NEVER have to buy things in bulk; thus my limited familiarity with the ways of Costco. Today, however, I needed croissants, turkey, and cheese. And I threw some frozen fruit in there too since that's something I do want in bulk. Jenny came along to help me out with her Costco card.

One of the first things we found was a free sample table for some dried coconut that was actually pretty good. That scored Costco some points in my book. Next, we found the craisins on sale for $3.49 (down from $6.99. Note that it did not specify for the first one only). Jenny and I are both crazy about craisins, so I stuck one package in the basket and she put in four! 

Finding the croissants and cheese were easy enough, but I was surprised to find that the kind of meat I wanted could only be purchased three packages at a time. That's like, 42 pieces of turkey! I really didn't want any leftovers since I don't even eat meat, so I felt blessed when I found one of the packages all on its own; someone before me had ripped it from the other two. "Aha! It's here just for me!" I thought. Jenny warned me that I may not be able to buy it that way but I thought that was ridiculous. 

We did have good luck at check-out because the man let me use Jenny's Costco card even though it was clear from Jenny's picture on the card that it wasn't mine. He just kind of laughed and rolled his eyes. But when he saw the lone package of turkey he told me I couldn't purchase it that way. I explained that I hadn't torn it off myself but had just found it that way, but he insisted I would have to buy a whole 3-pack. "Ok, nevermind," I said. And then--out of curiosity--I asked him what he was going to do with it and he replied that they would have to throw it away. I made a face: "But that's wasteful!" He smiled at me and said, "Well, some of the rules we do have to keep." I realized he was already letting us slide by letting me use Jenny's card and that was a pretty great blessing by itself! I figured I could just get turkey at Smith's.

When it came time for me to pay, I pulled out my credit card and swiped it. Then the machine asked for my pin number: "Um, it's asking for my pin number but this card doesn't have one!" In reply he said, "That's because we only take debit!" Whoops!

After our cashier swiped Jenny's four packages of craisins, Jenny asked, "Sorry, were all four of them on sale or just the first one?" Just the first one. What the heck?! The guy behind us in line (whom Jenny knew) made a joke about it and our cashier responded (jokingly, of course), "Are you their parole officer? Because they need one!"  Oh, my.

It wasn't until we got home that I realized no one had bagged our purchases. Thank goodness they save on plastic to compensate for all the meat they must throw away!

Thanks for an eventful experience, Costco.