beauty friendship hope laughter life


Thirty-three sounds much better to me than thirty-two. I don’t know why – there’s no logical reason, but I like the look of it – two threes. Thirty-two was a good year though. I am grateful for the ups and downs (well, not all the downs), the travels, the discoveries, the friendships, my family.

Last year I made the goal to “let go” and sometimes I did. There was dancing (no matter how terrible), balloons for my grandpa, mountain tops, running away from Christmas, genuinely feeling good in my skin, letting my face scrunch up and a few tears fall during concerts, and laughing (oh, there was so much laughter).

Sometimes held on too tightly. So many things about the election broke my heart, I was hard on myself, I got stuck on whatever was going on in the news, I felt anxiety and sadness about a variety of things.

But as one of my friends told me, sometimes change takes longer than we want or expect. Maybe the important thing is giving yourself credit for the things you did right – for the moments you moved in the right direction.

A lot can change in one year, and from the outside, my life might not look too different from the day I turned thirty-two. But I think on the inside, there is movement in ways that I want. I put my phone down more often, I’m writing again, I have some big ideas, and I crave the outdoors maybe more than ever.

So if there is a theme, or motto, or mantra that I want for year thirty-three, it’s slow down. Because I think if there is anything that will help me on the let go path, it’s to be more in the moment, to spend more time on the trails, to enjoy the good food, to pay attention to the details, to truly listen to my family and friends, to write more, and read more (books! not my phone), and have a few more quiet weekends than I did last year. I don’t want my whole life to feel like a blur. I want to create it, remember it, and love it, and those things take time.

Goodbye 32.


beauty hope laughter life love stars universe

i need the night

“I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.”
Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

It’s been a month since that 4 o’clock morning in the backyard with all those stars. Travis and I were sitting in patio chairs looking up at the cloudless, moonless sky waiting for shiny meteors to shoot across the sky like rockets. We talked a little, and I gasped a lot – every time I saw one soar and disappear like a magic trick. The dry, desert air was cool and we were wrapped up in blankets, listening as crickets chirped. I don’t remember a breeze, but I remember the crisp night on my cheeks and the way summer filled my lungs as I breathed it in and out.

We were out there for about an hour and saw a few dozen flying meteors, then Travis went inside to sleep a little longer. I couldn’t help staying out to watch the sky fade from black to golden blue. Most of the stars disappeared by the time I decided to head in and make waffle batter for Travis’ 31st birthday breakfast, and as I watched them vanish, I closed my eyes and tried to feel each second and everything I am thankful for.

There was something magic about that early morning. Neither of us had seen a meteor shower before, and when we saw that this one would take place on Travis’ birthday, we couldn’t pass it up. Watching a meteor shower was one of those things on an imaginary bucket list in my mind – the kind of thing I never wrote down, but would eventually experience because it’s such a Manette thing to do.

I’d started reading a book around that time about the value of darkness in our lives, both literally and figuratively, and how even though we tend to equate the night with the unfamiliar and scary things, there is so much to be gained from it. I recently read that Chaco Canyon in New Mexico protects 99% of its night sky from most light pollution, creating better living conditions for nocturnal wildlife in the area and enabling humans and plants to experience life’s natural rhythms. There is value in darkness that can’t be found in light, and on the morning of Travis’ birthday, I realized how much I missed it – how much I longed for more frequent outdoor moments beneath a million, billion stars.

Sometimes I need the night. I need to walk outside and see the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia. I need to look through a telescope at the surface of the moon or a cluster of stars and realize how tiny I am in this big universe. Sometimes I need to go for a long drive with the windows down and my favorite music keeping me company. Sometimes I need a group of friends around a campfire because it’s a space where every kind of conversation can happen and no one feels awkward.

Sometimes I need to hike long after sunset and reach the top of a mountain where all I can see is black trees and the sky’s diamonds. Sometimes I need to sit on a blanket somewhere and watch fireworks burst right above me in 100 colors. Sometimes I need to soak in a hot tub where everything feels intimate, or swim in a pool where everything feels free, or funny, or both. Sometimes I need to see the ocean in the dark and hear the waves all night long.

Sometimes I need to sleep without a roof over my head so I can hear the owls and rustling leaves. Sometimes I need to be on a chairlift while it’s snowing so I can see the magic of winter with its giant trees draped in white blankets. Then I need to tromp through knee-high fresh powder and make snowballs and angels, and, for some reason, not feel cold at all.

Sometimes I need the loudness of night – the sounds of parties, and city trains, and baseball games. I crave amphitheaters, concert crowds, and my favorite bands giving everything they have on stage. And every once in a while, I might stumble to the car after dancing to thumping beats inside bars with all of my (two) dance moves.

Sometimes I need to sit on the back patio to drink tea and watch lightning strike in all directions. Sometimes I need to sit on a rooftop with friends from all different places and backgrounds and watch cigarette smoke fade into the darkness while talking about the most serious and silliest sorts of things.

Some of these things I’ve only done once, and others dozens of times. What I know is that I don’t do any of it often enough. I love how the night will wrap me up and keep me for a while. How it holds hope in all those stars. How it remembers happy moments, with many more to come.

beauty grief laughter life love

disney world for dad


Let’s start out with this fabulous photo of me wearing flamingo socks and bright blue shoes. I have become obsessed with Woven Pear socks, and much to Travis’ dismay, I will wear them with any outfit, no matter the color. I have socks with cats, roosters, cassette tapes, hearts (of course), and bikes. I brought all the fun socks to Florida and decidedly wore these flamingos the day I thought we were going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom because, you know, animals. Usually these socks are hidden under pants and boots, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wear shorts in February, so there was no covering these babies that day. The shoes, well, I needed my good tennis shoes of course! Travis was not excited about my outfit that day but said he’d walk with me anyway. Due to it being a rainy day, we ended up going to Epcot though so the whole animal theme didn’t really work. Oh well! I just looked like this all day:


It wasn’t until last night when my cousin commented on Facebook, “That is quite the sock/shoe combo,” that I realized I’d really pulled a Norm Newbold with this outfit. This made Travis and me laugh out loud, and reminded me that I’m channeling my dad without even knowing it. He was known for his wild, bright-colored clothes, and one of my favorite stories that was told in the first few days after we lost him was one that involved him, my uncle and a bright yellow pair of Crocs. I believe he bought them in a sporting goods store while on a fishing trip. They were shoes that most people in their right minds would never purchase, but “They were a good deal and Bob would have bought them too but they didn’t have them in his size!” He loved those silly Crocs.

In the same way that he was so proud of that purchase, I am proud of my fun socks. I could honestly be Woven Pear’s spokesperson. I have given socks for Christmas and Valentine’s gifts, posted photos on Instagram, and got my sister-in-law Melissa and friend Stacey just as obsessed with them. But I’m not here to tell you how soft they are, how comfy they make my toes, or how I model them for Travis every time I put them on. I digress …

What I’ve been noticing lately is that memories of my dad have been making me more happy than sad. The first time I noticed this was when I saw a picture on Timehop of the Billy Joel/Elton John concert we went to in 2010. Seeing that photo brought a genuine smile to my face as I laid in bed that morning remembering how happy we all were that night, and how thoughtful my dad had been in buying an extra ticket so I could bring a friend. And then yesterday, as I looked at the flamingo socks photo and laughed, thinking of my dad and his crazy outfits once again made me happy.

In Disney World, I thought of my dad all the time. He was a huge Disney fan as I wrote about last year just two weeks after he passed away. I can’t go to Disney parks without him being with me in spirit. He never made it to Disney World, so during this trip I often thought about what he would have loved. In a way, I was seeing all of these things for him. There is an attraction in Epcot called Test Track that lets you build a car. You choose the model, shape, tires, design and more. Then you ride in a car that seemingly tests different conditions such as weather, slick roads, power, and efficiency, then you find out how your car would handle these situations. At the end, the ride speeds up to more than 60 MPH and you can ride with your hands in the air and scream around the track. Travis and I went on Test Track twice because it was my favorite, and the second time was at night. As our car sped up and curved around one of the last bends, a firework from one of the other parks went off and it felt like we were in this perfect, magical Disney moment. It was like my dad was saying hello with that firework, and telling me he was right there loving that ride, too.

I had a few of those moments where I was so amazed I got to see something that always seemed far away and unimaginable. I didn’t know when I’d ever see Spaceship Earth in person, and as the monorail took us around Epcot and it appeared to my left through the window, I literally gasped. The same thing happened the first time I saw the Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom. These were two things I’d seen on TV and ads since I was a kid and to see them in person was, as cheesy as it sounds, magic. I wonder what my dad’s reaction would have been to these places and the sheer size of Disney World in general.

In Epcot, my dad would have loved seeing the gardens with my mom and exploring each country pavilion. I can imagine him talking about all the countries he’d really been to … Italy, Canada, England, Mexico, France. Maybe he would have asked me questions about China. He would have loved Dinosaur, Expedition Everest and the safari in Animal Kingdom. He would have succumbed to the popcorn smell just as we did in the Magic Kingdom. I thought of him as we passed a corn dog place on Main Street and I looked for hearts and found them here and there. I hope he got to see it all with us.

The last thing we did in Disney was the Fantasmic show in Hollywood Studios. We’d attempted to see it last year in Disneyland but there was a technical issue and the show stopped part way through. I had to laugh when this happened again at the beginning of the show in Disney World. Travis said maybe he just wasn’t meant to ever see it. Out loud and jokingly, I said, “Come on, Dad, fix it!” And right after that, an announcement was made that the show would go on! And it did, and it was fabulous.

Right now, I’m holding onto the happy feelings when thinking of my dad. I that’s what he would want.

I love the light in this photo. It’s like my dad is shining down on us.
Spotted in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This was normal sock day.
Do you see the sideways heart on this tree? I didn’t notice it until after we got home and I put the photos on my computer. So cool! This was spotted on the safari ride in the Animal Kingdom.


I found this heart near Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.

Just for fun, here are a few examples of my dad’s awesome style for you:


Scan 38

And here’s one where we all apparently took after my dad … and at Disney, too!

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 5.02.48 PM


beauty friendship grief laughter life love

feeling alive

“You just keep living until you feel alive again.”

My sister-in-law heard that quote on a television show a few days ago and sent it to me. The worst thing about loss is it feels like everyone moves on and you’re still stuck. I learned that nothing and no one will ever let you grieve as long as you want to, or in the way you want to all the time. It was quite a while before I felt completely alive again, and even that was temporary. In the meantime, I had to continue working and making plans.

I believe one thing that helped me the most last year was planning travels with Travis, friends and family. I got to visit quite of few of my best friends, and they came to visit me. I want to tell you about some of those moments. In case you’re ever grieving in the worst way, I want you to know that you can feel alive again. In my case, it was always, always, always my close friends and family who helped me feel that way.

Disneyland I insisted we watch the firework show one night and they played “Silent Night” while the sky lit up with bursts of all colors by the castle. Travis looked at me, knowing I was thinking of my dad because my cousin played that song at his funeral. I cried a little on Indiana Jones. I smiled a lot when the Genie in Aladdin reminded me of him. I took pictures of things that reminded me of previous trips. The corn dog stand. The Carnation Cafe. The Golden Horseshoe. My mom. I marveled at how a person can be everywhere and no where at the same time.

Telluride A friend suggested I plan little trips or fun weekends each month so I had something to look forward to. Soon after that, we were invited to ski in Telluride and I couldn’t pass up the chance. I (slowly) made my way down an icy mountain several times that weekend. I faced fears. I breathed in the world’s chilled beauty – the fresh air, the white snow, the pine trees. I laughed my guts out playing Cards Against Humanity for the first time and during a late-night gondola ride.

Denver My friend Stevi and I got a hotel for a night where I jumped on the bed for about two seconds before falling right off! It was the prettiest hotel with fluffy, marshmallow comforters and pillows. We drank red wine and talked about all things happy and sad as usual. Then we ventured into Denver’s busy downtown and watched Garth Brooks take a late-night Saturday crowd by storm. Stevi and I stood the entire time. We sang our lungs out. We danced. I couldn’t make it to my dad’s birthday party that weekend, but I know he was in Denver with me, too. And now I’m glad I didn’t know / The way it all would end, the way it all would go / Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain / But I’d have had to miss the dance

Utah Tulips were blooming in every color – deep plum, fire truck red, monarch orange, sunset pink – and the cherry blossoms were putting on a show. My mom and I walked all over Thanksgiving Point looking for heart leaves and talking about my dad. She helped me with my first bridal faire at USU that weekend, and she blew out candles with all five of her grandkids right by her sides cheering for her.

Seattle The sun was out as we drove to the city. I told Brittny I felt like my dad was watching over me, and that days like that day made me feel really lucky and blessed. I asked her, “Who watches over those who are not so lucky? The homeless? The lonely?” She said, “Maybe all we have is today. Maybe those people also have had wonderful days. Maybe someone is looking out for them, too, but maybe all you can do is count on the day you have. This is our day. And we are going to have a good day.” We turned up Beyonce and kept driving into what became a really perfect memory.

Memorial Day “Color is one of the great things in the world that makes life worth living to me.” Georgia O’Keefe said that and I wrote it down the day Travis and I went to her museum in Santa Fe with Emilie and Garrett from Utah. We hiked that day, sipped little chocolate drinks and said goodbye after a wonderful weekend with them.

Father’s Day Weekend Lightning struck, thunder cracked and rain began to fall during the last few songs at the Tim McGraw concert. Was Dad saying, “Hello?” My mom, Chelsea and I hugged and cried as the whole crowd sang. “And I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying. And he said someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying.”

Durango After spending all day on a working choo-choo train that weaves along the calming Animas River, green pine trees and around canyon drop-offs, Travis’, his dad’s and my face were covered in soot and my hair was wonderfully windblown and tangled. There is something about the mountains, riding in an open gondola, the wind in your face, the non-stop chugging of the train that relaxes you and makes you excited at the same time.

San Francisco The city smells like sourdough, chocolate, garlic, the ocean and wine. One day, Travis and I walked for miles and miles along the northern part of San Francisco, passed the Painted Ladies, then by The Mill where the smell of toast and coffee came billowing through the front doors and onto the sidewalk. We made our way to the Palace of Fine Arts, along the beach near Crissy Field where dogs happily splashed in the water and chased their friends, and where kite surfers glided through the waves. We walked on the Golden Gate Bridge the day after we’d taken a boat ride beneath it with our friends Ken and Claudia. Happy memories for sure. Travis and I always travel well together.

Pool Days The spiked lemonade took us all by surprise and we spent the rest of the day ridiculously laughing at the craziest of things. Then I ate an entire tub of salsa while trying to talk Jenn out of being sick. That’s what best friends are for, after all. The rest of the weekend was filled with long talks, flowers and painting. I’m so glad she came to visit.

Washington, D.C. We wore matching pineapple pajamas to bed, ate macaroni and cheese, toaster strudel and cotton candy grapes. April made everything feel like old times. After she dropped me off in Virginia, Brittny, Holly and I spent our nights talking late into the night about all the real stuff. The day was filled with museums, monuments and bike rides. I’ll love these girls forever.

College Kids How we ever managed to pull off getting together again still seems like a miracle to me. Bret and Michelle came from Utah, and Stevi came from Denver one weekend. These friends were and continue to be main players in shaping my life for good. I’m thankful for the time we spent swimming, quoting our old jokes and exploring New Mexico.

Balloon Fiesta We managed to get my nephews out of bed around 4 a.m. to watch hundreds of balloons take off at dawn in Albuquerque. They were such good sports. As always, we were all amazed as we watched the balloons rise. With little wind that day, they hovered around us for a long time. I’m so glad my brother, sister-in-law and my mom drove down for the most magical time of the year here. Ryan got his Heisenberg hat and wore it everywhere, so I’m pretty sure the weekend was a success.

Christmas The Candyland tree stayed up the whole year and looked just as magical as the first time I saw it. We saw a movie at the Kaysville Theater on Christmas Eve and all laughed during the old-fashioned theater etiquette commercial like usual, then we accidentally turned out to be the messiest people in the place (you probably had to be there)! My mom went shopping for things my dad would have – speakers and car kits – and it made us all so happy. She stood in front of us as we opened them and explained how they all worked. It was amazing!

Breakfast of Champions Potato casserole and French toast were on the menu the morning after Christmas when 20-something friends came for breakfast at my mom’s house. A handful of them drove all the way from Logan, and that meant a lot to me. I tried to invite everyone, but I’m sure I accidentally missed some. I wanted to gather as many friends as possible who had been a major part of my life, and who showed up when things got hard. High school friends I hadn’t seen in years came to my dad’s viewing, and they also came to breakfast that morning after Christmas. I told everyone before we started eating that I had planned to write a speech, but ran out of time. So I just thanked them for coming and said I was glad they were part of my life. It wasn’t enough, but sometimes words never will be. Hence, the French toast. 🙂

New Years Travis and I finished and started the year in Arizona with his parents. We stayed up late drinking champagne and watching the ball drop after my first NHL game where we howled with all the coyotes fans. “Ooo Ooo Oooooooooo!” A new year. A fresh start.

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

Those are some of the moments that made me feel alive again last year. Those were some of the days when I felt like broken pieces were being put back together, and when all the nostalgia, and grief, and laughter, and adventure created something really lovely and new. What I know now is that life will never be what you expect all the time. Sometimes it’s really, really hard. What I think I’ve always been aware of, though, is how much the people I love help me see the best things in myself and the world. They keep me strong, and they remind me that life is truly beautiful. Thank you for that. Thanks to all of you.







Photo May 15, 6 06 18 PM











friendship laughter life love

girlfriends are the greatest

During good times and bad my girlfriends have always seen me through and helped me along the way – so this post is for them. It’s impossible for me to share every memory because there are millions and I know I’m bound to leave some girls out on accident. Some pictures of my friends aren’t easily accessible either, so just know I’m thankful for every childhood, teenage, college and grown up (whatever that means) friend who made me laugh until I cried, dressed up with me, sang with me in the car, planned parties and trips with me, shared sorrows and big dreams with me under the stars, worked with me, had sleepovers with me, got in trouble with me, saw me sloppy, danced through the night, and so much more.

Thank you.

With all my heart, thank you.

You are some of the main people making this journey through life fun, exciting, bearable, interesting and inspiring. Tonight I want to share why I love you.

You view the world as something beautiful and you want to see it with me.


You know all we need is a cotton candy maker to ensure a day we’ll never forget.


You were there during the months and moments that changed our lives.


You sat with me when I was the only person older than 4 who wanted to hold a bunny.


You partied hard with me on my 21st birthday.


You dressed to match on accident.


Or on purpose.


You laugh with me until our guts hurt.


You show up on the big days and bad days – and often in a group.


You think wandering around New York City with the sole purpose of eating can be the greatest thing.


You did’t even have to be human to make me happy.


You have dress-like-a-wizard parties with me.


And wear-your-biggest-sleeves parties with me.


And see-who-looks-the-funniest-in-a-Christmas-sweater parties with me.


You taught me that life is an adventure and I still believe it 9 years later.


You saved our umbrella at a baseball game.


You visited me in the desert.


You traveled to one of the most exotic places with me.


You’ve been in my life since the 4th grade (or younger!)


You made sure my dress laid right on my wedding day.


You’ve been happy for me.


You danced to “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” with me – in fancy clothes.


You dressed up in ’80s attire because that’s what I wanted for my 30th birthday.


You inspired me to try new things, whether it be ice skating lessons or something else just as fun.


You know I’m ridiculous and often reciprocate that.


You agreed to make a pyramid for me because I was moving away, even though you probably thought I was crazy.


You take feet pictures with me in all the places we go.


You’ve been to the most epic of concerts with me.


You put on mustaches because, who knows why?


You agree to a hug even when you don’t want to (or you just hold your arms out until it’s over).


You get really into karaoke.


You’ve listened to every thought in my brain for years.


You stayed with me on the green runs when everyone else skied better.


You make biking and “Bachelor” plans with me every week.


You text me pictures that make me smile.


You do girly things when my husband won’t want to – like going to the ballet.


And when tragedy struck, you licked the tears off my face while I laid in bed wondering what happened.


You gathered around me during that tragedy, too, in many different ways both near and far. A couple of you came over that night to hold my hand, cry, and agree to watch our cat because we had to leave town. We barely knew you and you did it anyway.


Some of you who I hadn’t seen in years offered to do anything – including picking me from the airport if I needed it. You came to the viewing or funeral (or both), and sent cards, flowers and text messages from states away.



You send me cards and necklaces in the mail that lift my heart.


You’ve remained by my side while life is blurry.


And you know the next time I see you, it’s possible we’ll look like this again no matter what is going on in our lives.


laughter life love

beginnings, endings

Ogden Half Marathon in May 2012

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
— T.S. Eliot

Normally at the end of the year, I reflect on the previous 12 months and try to recognize all the wonderful things that happened. I like to think about the vacations taken and the new, beautiful places I got to see. I like going through my photos and seeing normal, every day adventures. I like replaying holidays and hikes and birthdays. Then I like thinking about what I accomplished at work and and my favorite stories, and after all that, I usually like to make new goals and plan on doing things I’ve never done before.

Well, we all know the end of the last year was really different for me and I didn’t really reflect on the the things I normally do. The last couple weeks of December were all about simply making it through those tough days. Sure, there was a lot of reflection, but sometimes I was reflecting over my whole life, not just the last 12 months, and thinking of new goals wasn’t exactly in the forefront of my mind.

I thought about a lot lasts with my dad. There was our last conversation. The last time I saw him in person, and the last time we went for a hike and watched a movie, and went to a concert together.

The day before he died, we’d talked via speaker phone with my mom and the discussion went something like this: Disneyland plans and … poop.

Yes, poop.

Travis and I had just hosted an ugly sweater party the weekend before and when we exchanged white elephant gifts, I ended up with a book called “Poophemisms: Over 1,737 Fun Ways to Talk About Taking a Poop.” The book is basically a list of all the ways you can say poop and I knew my dad would get a kick out of it. So, I told him a few phrases like “Gone With the Wind,” “bake brownies,” “Do the Deed.”

He took me up on this right away and started asking if more phrases were in the book. I can’t remember for the life of me what his suggestions were, but none of them were in the book, and he named at least five. So then my mom said it sounded like he could write his own poop book and we all laughed.

While it might be nice to say the last conversation we had was philosophical or that I learned something really profound from him that night, I honestly can’t think of a better last conversation. It was funny and so us.

One of my favorite quotes about beginnings and endings comes from the movie “Hope Floats,” when little Birdie Pruitt says, “She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too …”

My last conversation with my dad was still in “the middle” – in the part that counts the most. It was before everything turned sad and scary. While I can’t say every interaction with my dad was positive (I don’t think anyone can say that about their family), I’m so grateful that the majority of our “middle” was good, fun and inspiring.

There were so many beginnings and endings my dad was part of. He and my mom got me in piano lessons at age 8 and they bought my clarinet when it was decided I would take band classes in junior high. They were there for my first and last performances, and came to voice recitals in college when I decided to take on lessons.

He was there to give me advice and hope every year I started a new grade, and he read my stories when they first started printing in the local newspaper in high school. In college, he was the person I wanted to call after one of my first interviews for a college newspaper story because it had to do with mounting animals.

I was pretty miserable at sports, but he would come to my games when I tried something new  like softball, or basketball or soccer. And when I started running races in college, I believe he was at every finish line with a camera, and a couple of times, he drove with me and my mom so we could run in Bryce Canyon or St. George. One of the last half marathons I completed was in Ogden almost three years ago, and he showed up to cheer us on wearing an Angry Birds shirt and a bell around his neck. I don’t know how else he could have better said “I’ll be there with bells on.”

He was there at my college graduation with a rose, camera and plans to pay for everyone’s lunch at Firehouse after. And when I ended my years of part-time work and started my first full-time job, he was happy for me and proud of my decision to stay in Logan.

Every time I needed help moving apartments because a school year ended or my life situation changed, he’d show up with his truck to help pack me up for the next adventure. The most notable of these moves was when he helped me close some chapters in Utah and move to New Mexico, even though I know he was nervous for me, and probably wasn’t sure I’d made the right decision.

He was there at the beginning of my marriage – I mean, he actually pronounced me and Travis married  – and he gave me hope that we could have something as special as he and my mom.

More recently, he was here the weekend Travis and I made an offer on our first home. I often think about the day he came with us to look at this house and how he sat on the patio furniture in the backyard and made himself comfortable. It was like if my dad liked this house, then it was going to be OK.

Now we’re almost three weeks in this new year – this new beginning – and he’s not here like he used to be. I don’t have all my goals set up, so I’m not sure what I’d tell him I’m planning to do if he were here. Well, I do know of a couple things. I want to start a business, ski in Telluride, see Seattle, and go to a Garth Brooks concert. Other than the business, these are things that just kind of came up recently, but I know he’d be happy for me to tell him the stories and see my new work.

Today I went for a bike ride for the first time in 2015 and it was haaaaarrrrddddd, and I told myself I should make the goal to do that ride without any stops. I couldn’t help but ask for his help a couple times as I felt that bike ride everywhere – in my Jell-O legs, to my gasping-for-air lungs, to my heart that was beating wildly. I think he would have been proud of me because he was always excited to hear I’d tried something – from biking to hiking to climbing. I think he’d be glad to hear I want to get so much better.

There are still so many more beginnings, middles and endings to come because life is that way, and it changes often. There will be many more firsts and lasts.

To end this post, I want to share the last video I took of him. It was filmed Thanksgiving Day, and I found it unexpectedly a couple weeks after he passed away. I’d forgotten all about it. To give you some context, we were talking about the Live Long and Prosper sign from “Star Trek” for some reason, and my mom said she couldn’t get her fingers to move that way. So, my dad started helping her and I caught the end of it. We all laughed, and then my dad signed off with his signature peace sign and “bye bye.”

Oh, how I miss him. Live Long and Prosper in our dreams and somewhere close, Dad. Cheer us on and help us through the beginnings, middles and endings the rest of our lives.

laughter life love

to a person on their first day

Welcome, this is the world. It’s a pretty cool place.

Laughing’s the best.

Sometimes gross things will happen. Some days awesome things will happen. Some days you’ll get ice cream. Some days you won’t.

There’s plenty of reasons to dance, you’ve just got to look for them.

You should give people high fives just for getting out of bed.

Just treat everybody like it’s their birthday, even if they don’t deserve it.

The biggest mess up? Not forgiving each others’ mess ups.

Take brain pictures!

Love is louder.



If you love this as much as I do, pass it along! We could all benefit from hearing how awesome life is.

laughter life

ellen wisdom

I’m starting with this wonderful video that made me laugh out loud all by myself in front of my computer the first time I watched it. It’s just. That. Good.

Like pretty much everyone else in America, I want to be friends with Ellen. Like, in real life. Like, for real.

And it’s a funny thing, because I’ve honestly hardly ever watched her show since it’s on while I work and I don’t pay much attention to TV anyway.

But I did read her most recent book, “Seriously … I’m Kidding,” a couple years ago, and by the end, my Kindle had been highlighted to death with all her funny little insights on life and her clever wisdom. She seems like a normal person, one that’s afraid of the dark, one that hits writer’s block sometimes, and one that occasionally goes off on long tangents about who knows what. All of those things related to me.

But my favorite quotes, my two very favorite quotes, were about happiness and contributing to the world. Remind me someday when I have to get rid of all my jeans with holes in them that I should still be happy.

“The thing everyone should realize is that the key to happiness is being happy by yourself and for yourself. If everything you have got stripped away – your home, your job, your family, your things, your favorite T-shirt with all the holes in it that you won’t throw away even though it reveals a large part of your stomach region – if you lost all of those things and you had to live in a cave all alone with absolutely nothing, you should still be happy. Happiness comes from within. You have the power to change your own mind-set so that all the negative, horrible thoughts that try to invade your psyche are replaced with happy, positive, wonderful things.”

“Contribute to the world. Help people. Help one person. Help someone cross the street today. Help someone with directions unless you have a terrible sense of direction. Help someone who’s trying to help you. Just help. Make an impact. Show someone you care. Say yes instead of no. Say something nice. Smile. Make eye contact. Hug. Kiss. Get naked.”

Now, let’s end with another video gem from Ellen which aired last week. If I ever really get to be friends with Ellen, I’m gonna hug her a million times like this kid. Or maybe that would be weird. I’ll try to judge the situation accurately when it happens.