January 22, 2018

life recently, ft. Ryan

Blogging is so interesting ... because I don't write when I feel like I have nothing to write because life is dull and I don't write when I feel like I have too much to write because life is so exciting. Recently, I haven't been blogging for the latter. In fact, I don't think I've had a period of time that was this exciting for a long time. This can be attributed to a new character in the Molly Mormon Saga: Ryan.

World, meet Ryan.

As you can tell from the picture, he's handsome. What you might not be able to discern from this picture is the vibrancy and color that he manages to weave into my life every. single. day. I am overwhelmed by the blessing that he is in my life. I want to give the world a small taste of how wonderful this man is, but I'm struggling to find the words. Because a descriptive list of his positive attributes would probably stretch longer than the Wall of China ... and because he's going to be featured in many blog posts to come ... maybe I'll just share a couple of stories to fill you in on the strokes of luck that led to the happiness that is life recently (ft. Ryan).

JUNE 2016

Twenty-four sweaty and enthusiastic teenagers are playing one of the many games found in the EFY handbook. They don't understand the relevance of being captained through a "mine-field" of their peers, but they are thoroughly enjoying it. I look over at my co-counselor and motion that we should wrap up the game. He calls everyone to attention with a whistle and the participants gather without missing a beat. They respect him and they listen to his explanation of the game with rapt attention.

Even though I didn't know it then, I think I fell a little bit in love with Ryan that day. I didn't know that he had a girlfriend at the time. To be honest, I didn't project any kind of future with him because I was going back up to BYU-Idaho after finishing EFY. But I saw the respect of the teenagers and thought ... man, I hope I can end up with someone like this someday.


I dial the number of my friend in Provo. I call with a couple of intentions ... partly to catch up, but mostly to find out what kind of housing is available in Provo for the winter semester. After EFY, I have been the worst at keeping in touch with the friends I made over the summer. I assume that it's just a normal characteristic of the summer camp experience. This friend, however, keeps popping up, especially because we have mutual friends that attend BYU-Idaho. After some chit-chat about the weather and classes and life, I ask if he would be able to scout out some housing. He contacts me shortly after with a couple of vacancies in his ward. The conversation is brief but pleasant.

Even though I didn't know it then, I think I feel a little bit in love with Ryan that day. I wasn't sure what my future was going to look like. I had accepted my admission to BYU and was planning to transfer in the winter, but there were so many unknown variables. I didn't know where I was going to live, what I was going to study, or how life was going to look as soon as I left the security of Rexburg, Idaho. I was dating a great guy, but I was unsure of how that relationship would pan out with an impending period of long distance looming on the horizon. But I knew that I would have at least one friend in Provo, so I felt a little less apprehensive about the change.


I trudge through the snow to my Portuguese class, trying desperately to avoid the embarrassment that comes from slipping on campus. I can feel the excitement of being in a new place with new opportunities being replaced by feelings of loneliness and feelings of inadequacy. As I climb the stairs, I see a familiar figure. We're both late to our 8 o'clock class, but he makes time to talk to me for a little bit longer than a "Hey, how are you?" and I make time to talk for a little bit longer than, "So, where are you headed?" We part ways.

This experience happened a couple of times my first semester at BYU. Even though I didn't know it then, I think I fell a little bit in love with Ryan those days. No matter the time of day, Ryan had an energy that was contagious. I didn't expect to run into him on the way to class, but when I did, I was always pleasantly surprised by his good humor and his genuine interest.

JUNE 2017-OCTOBER 2017

Random encounters. I see him at the MTC. I see him walking to the library on campus.

Even though I didn't know it then, I think I fell a little bit in love with Ryan those days. Looking back, I feel like those little encounters were just enough to maintain our friendship. Despite the fact that we only had general, "How are you?" conversations once every couple of months, I continued to be impressed with Ryan.

My summer was fraught with relationship drama, and I went into the semester with a jaded outlook on the Provo dating culture. I felt helpless when it came to my love life and began focusing my energy to building a career, a path that was a little less ambiguous and that I felt I had control over. I started planning to go to China for the first half of 2018. I began making plans to graduate ASAP and then begin a Master's degree.

One day, I was praying to know what I should do with my life and I found myself saying, "Heavenly Father ... I just want to find a good boy. Please help me to find a good boy." My prayer surprised me, especially considering the fact that I was trying to figure out if I should pay the deposit to go to China or not. What was even more surprising was that Ryan texted me the next day with an invitation to go to a concert. I wanted to go ... but I couldn't. So we set up a date to a hockey game later that week ... and I fell, more than a little bit, in love with Ryan.

And so began the happiest period of my life that continues to this day.

Ryan and I have had all kinds of adventures the past couple of months. We've gone hiking. We've sung karaoke. We've run miles and miles and miles together. We've read books and hammocked (sometimes at the same time). We've road tripped to Washington. We've gone to concerts and plays. We've attended hockey games and have played broom hockey. He's taught me to rock climb and to appreciate soccer and to enjoy life to the fullest. We've watched all kinds of movies. We've eaten so many creative, college-budget friendly meals together. We've seen the Christmas lights on Temple Square. We've laughed and laughed and laughed.

Though we've had so many random experiences the past year and a half, I can't point to any one point of our friendship/relationship and say, "That was the moment it happened. That was when I fell in love." But I think that's the most adventurous part of dating Ryan. No matter what we do, I've come to realize that I fall a little bit more in love with him every day. I'll be the first to admit that this is beyond cheesy. It's beyond cliche. Words cannot describe what it's like to experience so much of life with a single person.

Get ready for it, world. Blog posts of incoherent bliss are surely ahead of us, but I hope that life recently (ft. Ryan) is here to stay. :)

October 22, 2017

the perfect offering

I haven't blogged in a while ...

And this is where I put in a ton of excuses like, "Oh, you know, life is just crazy!" or "Eh, I don't really have anything worth saying."

All excuses aside, the truth is that I hesitate blogging because I want to wait for the prime opportunity. I want to have a flurry of thoughts that I can't HELP but share with the world. I want to be inspirational. In short, I don't write because I'm worried about delivering anything less than perfection.

A casual glance at decisions in my life would reveal a bit of this same tendency. Cafe Rio lines are about the worst thing in the world because I have time to think about the big decision that is "What will I eat today?" and I fear that if I don't buy the perfect thing, I will be doomed to a meaningless existence for the rest of my life. I've spent a lot of time in my past life waiting for perfect conditions in order to become a perfect person. I sometimes hesitate to put my all into something until I am sure that it will give me the perfected results I desire.

I'm learning that there is no such thing as that perfect moment. There is no such thing as a perfect person. There is no such thing as the perfect plate at Cafe Rio (because, let's be real, every plate at Cafe Rio is perfect). I'm also learning that imperfection is beauty. It is interesting and exhilarating. It is a growth experience, because every imperfection that I live is a chance for the Savior to reach out with mercy and power in order to perfect what I have to offer. That is how His light is able to enter my life.

So, I blog this out to the universe. Not because this was a perfect moment to blog ... but because I want to take every opportunity that I can to help people to understand that the Savior's grace is for EVERY SINGLE IMPERFECT PERSON! He is strength. He is support. He is perfection.

September 10, 2017

a summer in review

The air is crisp and my sweaters are coming out of hibernation. Pumpkin spice candles and drives through the colorful canyons are just around the corner ... and I am ecstatic. At the changing of seasons, however, I can't help but take a minute to reflect on what an amazing summer I had this year.

This summer, I read. I read books that enlightened. I read books that entertained. I read books from my childhood. I read books that kept me awake at night because I was so fired up about the ideas that they gave me. These books played a huge role in the development of my soul. For that, I am grateful.

This summer, I ran. I ran and I ran and I ran. Earlier in the year, I set a goal to run a half-marathon and put in some half-hearted effort during the semester to achieve said goal. With my new summer schedule of only working part-time, I found huge chunks of unoccupied time. Running long distances helped me to fill that time, but it also helped me in so many other ways. Running a half-marathon taught me that I can push myself and endure. For that, I am grateful.

This summer, I climbed mountains (both literally and figuratively). I saw the beautiful world that is out my back door. I explored by myself and with people that have become some of my dearest friends. I faced challenges by simply going forward, one step at a time. I learned how capable I am of doing hard things and being able to still appreciate the views that surround me. For that, I am grateful.

This summer, I loved. I loved my missionaries that I had the opportunity to teach in the MTC. I loved my family members and was able to spend quality time at home. I loved my friends and roommates with all of my heart. I hosted karaoke parties and ate completos in good company. I used to have a hard time defining what I like to do ... but I learned this summer that my dearest and deepest hobby is loving others. For that, I am grateful.

This summer, I learned to trust Heavenly Father. Again and again and again, I learn the same lesson. At the beginning of the summer, I had to decide whether or not I would work continue to work for the MTC or if I would quit for the summer to do EFY again. Even though making the decision between two good things might seem like a silly thing to have anxiety about, it was such a difficult decision for me. I ultimately felt like I needed to stay at the MTC. I wasn't sure why, but I knew that that was the decision that Heavenly Father wanted me to make ... even with that knowledge, I cried as I declined my EFY contracts.

However, like always, Heavenly Father could see so much more than I could. I had so many incredible experiences this summer that would have been impossible had I decided to work for EFY. I wouldn't have been able to see my brother in the MTC as he prepared for his two year mission in Poland. I wouldn't have been able to be on our ward Ultimate Frisbee team. I wouldn't have been able to explore or read or run. I couldn't possibly have foreseen those experiences in April when I made the decision, but Heavenly Father could. He knows me. For that, I am grateful.

May 30, 2017

my doors are unlocked

My beat up pick-up truck winks at night ... one of the headlights is broken. The engine sputters and shuts off randomly while I'm driving. The defrost heater works (hallelujah), but the AC is long gone. However, I call it Charity because it's been going for 278,000 miles and it still hasn't failed. Even though Charity is a weird little car, I love her. She's been good to me.

One morning a couple of months ago, I woke up to find that someone had broken into Charity. Nothing was broken, but the scent of cigarette smoke and my more-than-normally disheveled glove box clued me into the fact that an unknown person was rifling through my car.

Creepy, right? I was definitely creeped out by this situation. Someone that I didn't know had been in my car! The incident was a complete surprise to me.

But, at the same time, it wasn't unexpected ... after all, I leave my doors unlocked.

For you city-folk that are crying out in protest, I promise that there is a little explanation to my madness. When I lived nestled into the rolling hills of Missouri, my dad attached the keys to the stick ... because I had (ahem ... have) the uncanny ability to lose everything. I trusted my neighbors, I trusted my friends at school, I trusted the random people of Walmart. So I left the keys in the car and I left it unlocked, often with the windows rolled down.

That habit stuck with me when I migrated to Rexburg. I still trusted my neighbors, my friends at school, and the random people of Walmart. I started carrying a purse (so the keys being attached to the stick was no longer necessary), but I left the doors unlocked. I practically invited people to steal my car as a favor to me ... but nothing happened.

I guess that's why the random betrayal of trust in the dead of night was so unexpected. As I installed a new air freshener and wiped down Charity's cracked windshield, I realized that I had a choice to make. I could either be extra vigilant in locking my car every time I left it ... or I could decide to find renewed trust and keep living my life as if nothing had ever happened.

I'm learning that my heart is a little bit like my truck. It's a little bit battered. It's a little bit weird. But I love it. It's been good to me and has kept me moving for the past 22 years. I engage my heart in everything that I do, a quality that has brought me a lot of satisfaction. I try to keep my heart unlocked and to love the people that I come into contact with as much as possible.

Most of the time, leaving my heart open has brought me more happiness than I could have ever imagined. Loving people has become my hobby. There are times, however, that I wake up to find my heart in a similar condition to my disheveled glove box. The experience stinks worse than the smell of cigarette smoke. The choice that I face after those moments is similar to the choice I faced after the break-in ... I can choose to lock my heart and withhold love ... or to find renewed trust and keep living life unlocked.

You can guess which option I chose in both scenarios.

My truck (and my heart) is still unlocked.

March 30, 2017

adventures in bible reading: bind my broken heart

ACTION ITEM for last week: Prepare to listen to the words of the Prophet by pondering questions that I have and by studying previous General Conference talks.

CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND! It's almost like a Mormon TEDTalk experience ... except three thousand times cooler. I have been preparing myself to listen to the words of the living Prophet and it has PUMPED ME UP. Sure, I have a paper due on Saturday. Sure, I could use the weekend to climb mountains. Even with all of the fun options that studying in Provo has to offer, there is nothing else I would rather do than receive instruction from Heavenly Father!

On a little bit of a different note, I have been LOVING the opportunity to study the Bible more in depth and to apply it to my life. The Old Testament still is a little intimidating, but doing these challenges every week has helped me to understand that ALL scripture is INSPIRED and that Heavenly Father has specific messages for me. If I am willing to look, He has hidden little golden nuggets of inspiration waiting to be found.

A couple of weeks ago, on top of the other challenge that I was in the process of completing, I started to pray for humility. Because I associate humility with people like Job (who suffered quite a bit), the thought of praying for those types of experiences gave me anxiety. However, these past couple of weeks haven't been awful. In fact, I felt that praying for humility was helping me to focus better in every aspect of my life.

Until this past week.

I don't know why, but I was not feeling incredibly motivated. I woke up in the morning, I went to school, I went to work, I studied, I went to bed ... repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I felt a lack of power and divine help. I guess that's how the middle of the semester is for most people, but it felt foreign to me after so many weeks of incredible, spiritually-uplifting experiences.

On Tuesday, I went to class in a similar funk. I was prepared to drudge through the day, to endure. In my Old Testament class, however, I was able to feel lifted from the funk by a scripture from Ezekiel.

FROM EZEKIEL? I have never taken the time to study this book because parts of it are REALLY difficult to understand. In fact, even after studying it for a whole week, parts of Ezekiel are still really difficult. Despite that, I was able to find a truth hidden within all of that craziness.

Ezekiel 34 talks about Christ being a good shepherd. I LOVE this metaphor for multiple reasons. It shows the care and the work that Christ has taken upon himself for MY WELFARE. 

Verse 16 of this chapter beautifully demonstrates that characteristic: "I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up the that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick."

I have seen that in my life over and over again. On days when I feel like I can't do anything more than my little routine, Christ seeks me out and strengthens me. When I have had a broken heart, either from breaking up with a boyfriend or from sin or loneliness, Christ has always been willing to bind me up and help me to start again.

Remembering that truth gave me strength to keep enduring throughout the week. I had a mini-action item after that class of involving the Lord in my struggle to be motivated ... Although this action item seems kind of ambiguous and immeasurable, I have found that as I have prayed for strength and endurance, Christ has stepped in an has strengthened me. I love Him!

He'll do it for you, too. Christ is the good shepherd that Ezekiel was talking about, He is WAITING and WATCHING for you to come to Him so that He can heal you of whatever wounds you may have. All that He asks of you is to come, and then He'll take care of the rest!

ACTION ITEM FOR THIS NEXT WEEK: This week, I am going to study in the scriptures about HOW I can come to Christ more in my life. This may be a stepping stone to another action item that will then involve me APPLYING what I have learned about this process to my life.


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