Snowy Salt Lake

It keeps snowing a whole bunch here and I'm pretty happy about it.  Brian and I live right by Ensign Peak, so we hike up there a lot.  We went for a quick 15 minute hike the other weekend to get some snow pictures.
See the big fluffy snowflakes?
You can barely see the mountains to the east- it was super foggy with the snow.

Brian throws the snow up in the air and Sam leaps up to eat it.  Snow makes her go a little crazy- she runs around in circles as fast as she can and jumps all around.
Then it got freezing and Brian was only wearing a sweatshirt so we went back to the car.

I feel like I want and need to be more intentional about serving God right now.  Sometimes I can be really lazy and procrastinate on things that are really important.  I really love our church and being a part of our church community, and have wanted to find a way to serve at our church for a couple of months now.  It's not difficult to find a place to serve, I just haven't quite followed through.  I've sent some emails about interest in serving, but again just haven't quite followed through with actually doing it.

Then the other night I was reading from Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst (it's really good) and she started a sentence with this: "As long as you are in the place God has called you and He's using you..." It made me think, how is God using me right now? Am I giving myself or am I just taking, getting, consuming, etc.

So, I want to start now being intentional about serving.  Brian and I are going to be greeters at our church at the Christmas Eve service (that's like the easiest first step!) and then I want to find another place to give my time at my church or in the community and let God use me.

I've also been inspired by a couple of my friends' blogs lately to want to write more and not just post pictures with captions ha!



We stayed in Salt Lake this Thanksgiving because Brian and I both had to work the day before and after. But that's okay because we were so happy to be invited to two awesome Thanksgiving gatherings. 
First we went to our friends Dan and Liz's house for a huge lunch.  Here's the girls, Liz, the other Liz, me, and Jamie.
Brian and I made sweet potato casserole (my favorite) and stuffing.
Brian, Charlie, and Taylor getting ready to eat!
The food was so good and so was the company.  Loved spending the day with our new friends.

Next, we went over to our family friends' Thanksgiving dinner.  They were finishing up and we were stuffed, so we ate dessert there and hung out with everyone.  

Dance party in the basement with the wii.
Jerry and Ann, our hosts :)
Bells being silly
Tessa and her dad
Jennilyn, me, Gem, and a little bit of Tess :)   

We  our Salt Lake family!!

On another note, Brian and I have both been trying to cut down on our spending.  We purposely moved to Salt Lake with very few possessions, planning to buy new furniture when we got here (which we did).  We also didn't have very many winter clothes (since we lived in mostly tropical weather for the last three years), so we had a lot of catching up to do with buying everything from winter coats, to scarves, to snow boots.  I feel like we have been in intense spending mode for the last few months.  

Then, I found myself just getting into the habit of spending.  I love shopping, and it can be such a wonderful excuse to say, "Well, I really need those curtains, and need that sweater cause it's cold here."  A couple of weeks ago I read, "Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, your heart will be also." (Matt 6:19-21) I felt God reminding me that this is where my heart should be. 

I really want to cut down on spending and get back to living simply with our possessions, which is something that has always been important to Brian and I.  I want to be grateful for what we have and not constantly feel the need for more.  



Have I ever said that I love the snow here?  I do!  Utah snow is fluffy and has great big flakes.
 Samantha loves it too and jumps around in it like she used to in the Saipan ocean.  She also lunges at it while Brian shovels and tries to eat the snow.  Weirdo.
 My babe shoveling our driveway.
 My other babe.
 This weekend we went over to our friends Ashley and Creighton's apartment for a movie.  The snow was falling outside the window, they had a fire going, and Ashley made the most delicious lattes.  It was so awesome.  I love being warm and cozy inside while it's snowing outside, especially with great company.

 Also, I saw these pics on my phone the other day and realized I never put them on here.  You know who's cool?  My friend TJ and his mom Cheryl!  :) TJ is one of my oldest friends, and whenever I come to Kansas City, Brian and I always go over to Cheryl's house to hang out and have a cheese dip/movie night.  It's a tradition.  This summer, we got to hang out with them a lot for movie nights, going to get coffee, and we even got to go to an MMA fight in Kansas City that TJ was working at.  They even sat through my favorite movie, Across the Universe, even though I think they may have hated it hahaha!  They are the very best.


Ski Slopes at Snowbird

 At Snowbird Ski Resort back in October

 We rode the ski lift and it was COLD because I was a dork and wore flip flops
wanna ski?

Brian and I are feeling happy to be here in Salt Lake.  We were taking a walk up by the Capitol last night (which has become a frequent routine since we moved to this area) and Brian said, "I'm really glad we made this move."  Yes, Brian's job has extremely demanding hours (he worked 55 hours last week) and it's always tough to adapt to a new place and get everything settled, but we're really enjoying life in this city.  

After hearing about the beauty of Colorado from so many people and vacationing there so many times with my family, I feel like Salt Lake City is a beautiful hidden gem that not as many people know about (or maybe I was just behind and didn't know about it haha!)  The mountains are so close to the city, the weather is awesome, and I feel like the people and feeling of Salt Lake are both so friendly and welcoming.  

When we first got here, we didn't know very many people and felt a little overwhelmed, as I'm pretty sure almost everybody does after making a move.  It's starting to feel a lot more settled now, with both our jobs, meeting people, and moving into our rental house. I'm thanking God for bringing us here and taking care of us.  We'd like to put down some roots here, after moving around so much of our marriage.  We're saving to buy a house in the next couple of years.  Brian and I both still want to live overseas again someday, but want to stay here for at least the next few years.  

I was talking to a friend the other day about my dreams of nursing overseas, but I'm not sure where yet.  Brian and I also talk about moving back to Taiwan someday.  We loved living there and would love to raise a family there.  While living overseas, we had the chance to see a lot of our friends raising their young children overseas, and got to ask them a lot of questions about their experience with it.  It's something that Brian and I would really like to do someday, depending on the children we have and if it's a right fit for them.

So, there's a lot of random thoughts of mine right now, and here's a few more:

- I'm finding so much cool home decor stuff on Target.com right now as I'm looking for ways to decorate our new rental house.  I love their Boho Boutique and Mudhut lines.  But... Brian says some of their stuff is just a little too girly for his taste in a house and I think I can kind of agree. :) Also, it's so cool that we have an Ikea here.  I love shopping for my house!

- I was needing to buy a new Bible and chose this one yesterday: Pray the Scriptures Bible in the God's Word translation.  I really like it because the translation is written in really clear, everyday language.  It also has short prayers along the margins that relate to the verses you are reading.

- Going to see the new 007 movie tomorrow night with friends from church wooohoo Javier Bardem is my fave!!   

- This is our church, K2, and we love it.  We're doing to BaseCamp series that you'll see on the website right now and it's sweet.



Utah has the most beautiful weather.  Yesterday I went for a run up by the capitol building.  The leaves were all over the streets and falling from the trees, and it was in the 60's- so gorgeous.  It's kind of weird for it to be warm again, since it was snowing just a couple of weeks ago.

Brian and I are both settling into our new jobs.  I'm starting my third week as a CNA, and Brian's been working for the post office for over a month now.  Brian's been working a lot of hours, as we knew he would, so we've been taking advantage of our week nights and Sundays, and trying to fit in all that we want to do.  Brian gets tired from being on his feet all day (he's a new mail carrier, and sometimes works 11 or 12 hour days), but really likes working outdoors.

This week, we moved from our apartment into a little one-bedroom rental house.  We love it!!  It's minutes from downtown, and less than a mile from the beautiful capitol building.  It's also just an 8 minute drive to Brian's post office, which is really nice for him.  It has a backyard from Sam to play in, which is exactly why we chose it.  Right now, we're still in the process of moving everything in, organizing where it all will go, hanging pictures, and cleaning it up a bit. We chose a 1 year lease, so I want to really make it feel like home.  After moving around so much, I can't wait to decorate and buy some pieces of furniture that we can keep for a long time.  I also can't wait to have some friends over to try out the little fire pit in the back yard!


Donut Falls hike

We had a great time hiking with a couple of friends from our Monday night church group, Ashley and Creighton.  We picked the Donut Falls trail, an easy hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  The waterfall at the end of the hike flows through a circular hole in the rocks- the donut!
 The fall weather in Salt Lake City has been so nice lately.  I love the dry coolness here that doesn't feel too chilly.
 It was a windy day and the yellow leaves from the aspen trees were blowing around and falling to the ground as we hiked- so pretty!
 checking out the creek

 Climbing up the slippery waterfall.  The water was freeeezing cold, but it was really cool to climb to the top.

Looking forward to hiking with them again!


A Grateful List

Taken in Saipan, New Year's 2012 on the beach

I'm reading the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp right now.  Her book centers around thanksgiving, and how the practice of thanksgiving brings contentment and trust.  I thought I'd do a list of my own:
So grateful for...

A good, solid job for Brian, after a couple of difficult months of searching for jobs and not knowing where we would go.  The job market really is hard right now and it got so frustrating.  That is my #1 thanks.

That we get to feel fall weather after living in tropical and sub-tropical weather for 3 years.  

My Gram and cousin Ryan are coming to visit us this summer. And hopefully many more people and family to come visit!

Thankful we had the opportunity to travel the last few years and also thankful to be back in the states.  It's so nice to call family any time of the day and to shop/eat at/see some of the places I was really missing. It's nice to decorate my home and make it feel a little more permanent.  There are lots of things we miss about living overseas and we eventually want to do it again, but right now I'm so thankful we are back and I'm really enjoying life in the States.

Making my dad's bruschetta recipe last night- I miss cooking with my dad!

Supportive, encouraging family

Being in love with my husband Brian


More Ensign Peak

 Here's a few more pictures of our hike up Ensign Peak yesterday
 view from the lookout point
 me and my babe

 up the trail
Brian found a hoof print from some kind of animal

I've been taking classes at a yoga center Downtown called Centered City Yoga and I'm loving it. Some of the most difficult, but best yoga classes I've ever taken.  If you're in the city, check it out!