somebody bring this girl some ham

Here's the thing:

No one, not even you and I, have been able to pin point what happened to make us so close.
We've always been the "Missy's" 
& to me, there is a sacredness to that word. I honestly think our closeness is a huge contributor to the reason our family has gotten closer, stronger over the past few years.

You were the only person for those 8 months in NY I told that I had thoughts about serving mission. And when I told you there was "no way in hell" I wanted to go on a mission, you didn't judge me for saying that, or for the swearing part. And when you told me over the phone while I was sitting in the San Fransisco airport that you thought I should finally give in and listen to the feelings, I took that opinion to heart more than anyone elses.

You were the first one I called when I had done things that mother would not approve of with a boy for the first time, and you let me cry about to you. You empathized with me.

You let me cry about the stress of dating multiple guys at a time and didn't say "well at least you have boys to date" like so many said. 

You wholeheartedly understand my love for 30 rock, parks and rec, and just Tina Fey & Amy Poehler in general. It's almost too much love to handle just myself and I am relieved I have someone to share that burden with.

The past year and a half have changed you and I. You changed spiritually just as much as I did while on my mission and I am so grateful for that. You could literally understand the feelings I was having about my love for the gospel. I knew when I was doing morning study, you were too. And you experienced those indescribable feelings of falling in love with this gospel at the same time I did.

And even though our life experiences were at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, you could somehow always pull from something you had gone through to help me. Like when I came to you and said "Having to leave NY feels like there will be a hole in me that can never be filled" and you could pull from your own experiences and explain that things will get better. Even though you've never had that same NY experience. It amazes me still to this day how you can do that. And it's a quality I want in myself someday.

Your love for your husband & babies.
Your love for our family.
Your testimony.
Your strength - THAT STRENGTH DANI. It's inspired not only me but many many people around you. I cant tell you how many times i've had people say to me "Dani is one of the strongest people I know" and every time I fervently nod my head in agreeance .

I am overwhelmed with gratitude towards Heavenly Father that he let me have you as my sister and even more grateful because the plan all along, since before we were even together in this wonderful family here in this life, was for you to become my best friend.

Happy Birthday Pants.
26 may just be the best year yet. 

*cue celine dion's inspirational "my heart will go on"*

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Not in the plans, totally planned Christmas

Is it just me or has that Christmas tree gotten smaller? 
The fake Christmas tree that we've used every year since I can remember. Is that even possible?

I've grown since my last Christmas home. No, Literally. At least half an inch. I think that makes me really 5'11 now, not 5'10 and a half claiming to be 5'11. Being away has made an honest woman out of me. 

Its been three years by the way. Three years since being able to spend this holiday that so supports family, surrounded by exactly that. One Christmas spent in NYC, The next in Murrieta. & this years wasn't even supposed to be spent here. But all of the good that has come out of being home shows me it was in the plans all along. Maybe not my plans but definitely in someones. Had I stayed on my mission, I would have missed out on becoming this person. And I'm happy with how its turned out, with all of this

8 months ago there was no way out. I saw no end. Even the little glimpses of light graciously sent my way couldn't change the whole perspective. And now thinking back, I am there again. Sitting in that darkness. Seeing how it all played out and how I got here- sitting in my parents recliner on Christmas eve at 3:13 am listening to the best effing christmas playlist of all time - I am overwhelmed. But the best kind of overwhelmed. The opposite kind of overwhelmed that I felt a year ago. The kind of overwhelmed you feel when you realize that all of it's in remembering the birth and the atonement of Christ. 

Tears. I mean you could totally chalk it up to hormones. But these are the the good kind of tears that seem to well up in your heart way before they even make it out of your eyes.

Holidays lately have been the shit. Mostly because my family is the shit.
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helping, fixing, or serving

"Dont say that" you said.
"How can you say that?" you said.

"Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul. When we help, we become aware of our own strength. But when we serve, we don’t serve with our strength; we serve with ourselves, and we draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve; our wounds serve; even our darkness can serve. My pain is the source of my compassion; my woundedness is the key to my empathy." 

-Helping, Fixing or Serving? 
By Rachel Naomi Remen
Shambhala Sun, September 1999

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Please explain to me why golfing is a thing.

They put me in a room. 
Green walls.
Pictures of golf courses plastered all over.
The choice of green makes sense now.
Isn't that a little tacky?
Don't they know that golf is the worst sport in the history of all the sports?
Why do they think this would calm anyone down? 

Is this the foreshadowing of things to come?
Is this golf coursed plastered room going to become my life?
Because its scary how many parallels I could make.

Driving, preparing myself for this hour, I was going over in my head what they would ask me.

I've been asked these questions so many times before that I could literally write my own survey.
But how am I supposed to try and explain the weight of this last year in a 10 minute visit?
And how are they supposed to make an educated decision on what direction I should take in these 10 minutes, when it took me 7 months searching for an answer to finally get a hint at a direction.

Again, I trust the guidance that I've been given. 
But that doesn't stop my mind from racing a thousand miles an hour coming up with every possible outcome so as to make sure i am not blindsided.

I've definitely decided that the choice of green is extremely tacky.
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7 years

Whether it's because she suddenly remembered the warnings so many had given her lately or 
because the "i'ts 430 am why the hell are you awake" stomach ache had kicked in. She rolled down her window, the negative two degree air spilling frantically into her car, and spit out her gum.

7 years? Really? I highly doubt that.
But if it ends up being true, my stomach is literally half full of swallowed gum. Not only mine, but others who couldn't find a place to throw the gum away so I kindly took it and swallowed it for them. A service really. Maybe that's why I cant eat a lot of food all at once? The capacity of food holding room has been decreased greatly by the gum.

What is this "scold madi for swallowing gum" month? At least 4 different people have given me their warnings and looks of disgust as I swallow the gum that's flavor has long since left. 

I find nothing wrong.
And on the rare occasion you see me spitting out my gum, know that its the result of peer pressure.
So much friggin pressure.  

It has come to my attention that people thought this post was some sort of metaphor & were thrown off when they found out the truth. I want to be very clear when I say this is a literal post. I really swallow my gum, sometimes others as well. Although if you take this post as a metaphor, it makes me seem really deep. So go right ahead and take it how you will. In the mean time, I will keep on swallowing all of the gum.
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etta james - a staple

Sitting on the porch, getting some air. I watch as my aunt runs past and inside. The sound of a party. The music getting louder as the door opens- Etta James, Sunday Kind of Love - As the door closes the music dulls to a muted sound again. The walls from out here seem as if they could burst open. And I imagine if they did, love would come spilling out. An overwhelming love.

This holiday feels different. 
& that statement is starting to sound extremely repetitive in my life. But I think the source of variance comes from the eight months I spent away. Those eight months not only changed myself, it transformed my family. They walked it with me. It changed even the smallest parts of us. The mundane simply feels less mundane(y). 
So the holidays feel unusual - better.

Thanksgiving took the cake this year. I can't wait to see what happens come Christmas.
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Remembrance // Gratitude

There is something holy that comes with the slow work of God. The difficult, and at times, traumatic parts of it all. The parts that in the moment, feel like you will never recover, or never understand the reason of why it came to be. Dark and and at a standstill. Holy.

Then you look around and see what you are compared to what you were. And when what you were - shown against what you currently are -is like looking at the colors black and white, a clear stark difference,
gratitude swells

My 17 year old of a sister gave a talk in church yesterday. Quoting President Eyring she said that 
“Remembrance is the seed of Gratitude”

So I want to remember it all. Agonizing or complete joy- I want it all.

I want to remember slow dancing to etta james with my dad.
That feeling of love that surrounds a new born baby.
That shame does not need to drive you.
That silence & holding still often tells me all I need to know.
That you can always feel Gods presence - even in the darkest hour.
That returning home early from a mission doesn't define who I am.

I want to remember that we were divinely designed.
That the God I believe is not a "one false move" but a "no matter what" God.
That compassion is the answer to every question.

& in the end, I want to be able to say that "I loved it all"
and truly mean it. 
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the nephew

That baby.
He changed things.
He's changed us.

He's been here for a total of what, 72 hours?

I've been in the room for nearly all of my sisters births.

But this was different.
& maybe its because I am a different person, older and closer to that stage in my life.
but the feeling that was around that hospital room, and around our family this whole weekend, is one that I want to feel again.

He came out with barely a sqwak. Sleepy & exhausted from the journey it took to make it into our lives. Surrounded by family on that side saying goodbye, and surrounded by family on this side welcoming him into this world - all the people who love him the most - a very crowded room. A mixture of excitement, nerves, & love made it a sacred place to be.

Its in looking into this little boys face that perspective comes.

Baby Gage from Hannah Waters on Vimeo.

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when standing is too much

take for example my sister.
standing at a concert for 4 hours proved to be too much for her tiny little pregnant body.
so right there amid the sway of the crowd, she plopped herself onto the floor without a care.
no thought for the judgment or glances of others.
relief flooded.

standing has taken its toll on me.
& the past month I've been desperately trying to find a railing or a wall to lean against to try and take some of the weight off.

the possibility of relief has come in the form of something I wasn't expecting, or even wanting.
but I trust the advice of those around me, and more importantly, above me.

& until I am able to work up the stamina to stand on my own,
I am going to go ahead and take a seat on this crowded floor right here and figure some things out.
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Vague Emotional Stories Part 2

At first I was sure that you weren't right for me. My stubborn personality knew it. I had no doubts. You were not supposed to be in my future. For 7 months you were on my mind and I pushed even the thought of it out.

And then that time I was lost in the city waiting at the subway station on the east side I had never been to. I was a week away from my year mark of living in NYC & all of the sudden I felt like my life here was coming to a close. I turned to my best friend and mentioned the vague feeling, describing it as not being able to pin point what it was but that I felt my time was short & something big was ahead. He nodded trying to understand, but how could he, I didn't even understand myself.

Another experience like this, but with a few more specifics made me realize that I was in for a big change & it scared the shizzz out of me. All I wanted was to be right there living this life I had created on my own out in a big city- it was one of my biggest accomplishments.

It was on vacation a couple months later when an announcement from another friend changed the way I thought about you. And then again that night at the hockey game & my guard was coming down. As I stepped into the airport to fly home my thoughts were "You know this is right. Let me show you how much I have in store." That was the first time I knew something was so right that even my stubbornness couldn't have pushed it away. I made my way back to NY and within 3 months I had packed up and moved home.

That time spent with you was the hardest of my life. You asked so much of me. But because of how much I gave, I was given even more in return. The people I met because of you, the painful even agonizing parts of it all have made who I am today and I would never take that back.

Towards the end of us being together I realized I had a decision to make. I could stay, but that would mean me putting off what was actually staring me in the face which I knew I needed to take care of & I wasn't ready to take care of it with you still a part of my life. My decision to leave you wasn't hasty. It wasn't a last minute decision that I would later regret. In every part of my being I knew that leaving you was right. But that didn't change the fact that up to this point, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. 

Even though I was only with you for the short time of 8 months, you changed me.
I will never be able to thank you enough.

You - Being called and accepting to serve the Lord in Riverside California

I would never undo.
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Then, I heard this voice. It came from my own heart, the way it usually does. Only once has it ever been clear distinct undeniable words. Generally just small words speaking straight to every single good feeling in my body. 

This time like most, simple & still. 

"You are where you are. Even you can learn to be okay with that."

I think i'm starting to understand.

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Vague Emotional Stories Part 1

I didn't know the details of how things would end up eventually but i knew from that first hello on the subway at 161st street in the bronx- that we should have left it as just that.

And I should have noticed it months before I did. You never wanted to leave the apartment. You didn't want to hang out with my friends and eventually your friends either. I heard things from your friends that scared me more than I have words for.
You showed up less and less for church. 
Your words were sad.
You were sad.
And I thought I could change that.

Almost 9 months of energy was spent. And fast forward to the end, I finally could feel how much it weighed me down- I had no more emotion left to spend.

The last night I came over you kicked me out, for completely selfish reasons. You said to leave and that you wouldn't be calling me a cab. And it wasn't until the walk home that everything you had said fell into place. You knew the whole time what you were doing. We both knew that it was the best thing, and I let you convince me otherwise. And for that I am sorry. You needed someone to love you enough to hold their ground.  And I caused even more hurt, instead of my original intent to help.

I thought that would end it. It should have ended it. Again, you said words that hurt and made me upset. And I became someone that I didn't recognize after you said them.

Two years later I finally understand. I have been given my own experiences and shown a glimpse of what it was like for you. And shit, it must of been hard.

The last time I talked to you was a few days before I moved home.
You spotted me from across the room and gestured me over.

Him: "I heard some rumors about you leaving, are they true?"
I: "yes, in two days."

walks away.
weight lifted.
end story.
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be right here

My favorite part about this whole yoga teacher training thing i'm taking (lets pretend I already mentioned this update in my life) is how we are taught to be here. Wherever here is.
If you are brushing your teeth, brush your teeth. Don't be thinking about the million other things you have to do that day.
If you are driving to work, drive to work.
If you are in Uttanasana jumping back to Chaturanga (i'm using the official words to sound more boss), don't be thinking about how the sweat is dripping into your eyes causing them to burn and you wanting to collapse into a ball on the floor.

Be here now.
Not daydreaming about leaving Utah.
What good does it do to solely be focused that? It only takes away from the now. And the now has been so good to me.

I'm letting myself be here.
& i'm letting myself be okay with that.

Now take a breath-
This serious post is over.

Here is a link to a spotify playlist that is speaking to my insides like I wrote about the other day.
If you don't have spotify, get it. but if you want to go on with life, not having as much happiness as you could be having here's a couple songs from the playlist that I cant stop listening to.

( ^ 3:54, perfection )

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24 hours, not days

My first boyfriend was in 7th grade. We were sitting in english class when he walked by to "go to the bathroom" and dropped me a note. I opened it, and it wrote "Do you want to be my girlfriend? Check yes or no." George Straight truly had a way with words. I marked yes and so began my first journey of being a girlfriend.

Turns out being a girlfriend doesn't last very long. Like only 24 hours long. But that whole glorious day we passed notes back and forth to each other in the hall. Never making eye contact because you don't do that when you like someone. I went home that night and secretly named each level of the video game I played after him, but in code so no one would know. We were pretty happy.

Until the the next school day when he passed me the note in C hall that read "My mom found out I have a girlfriend and is making me break up with you". I understood. I mean if my parents decoded every level of that video game, they would probably not be happy either. So I wrote that we could just be friends and left it at that. After school that day my best friend Cassie came to tell me that he had lied about the whole "mom finding out" thing and he already had another girlfriend. Her name was Madison. He left me for another Madison.

It's okay because I fully believe in Karma.
Recently I heard that my 7th grade boyfriend literally thinks he's a pirate. Eye patch and everything.
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Its weekends like this that make me wish I was a better writer so that I could convey everything that's inside of me. But I am incapable of describing what seems to be overflowing in my heart so just go with me here.

It was an 11pm trip up to half moon rock on our last night there. And the combination of driving through the canyon with the windows down, listening to music where every song seems to just speak to your insides, and sitting behind it all looking at the backs of these girls heads who have become more and more a part of me these past years. It was the kind of scene/feeling I hope to one day be able to capture on film.

When I am with them, there is no passing judgment on myself in the back of my head. I am who I REALLY am. I am my favorite me.

So, on top of the rock that made us feel like we were landing on the moon,
we erased ourselves like in star girl.
That "boundary" was gone.
We let ourselves be who we needed to for awhile, even if that was taking a moment to not be here, not be us, just exist and nothing more.

Grand Junction, CO ate all of our hearts out.
..chewed them up,
and spit them back out.
but in a good way.

Best description ever.
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He burns incense while playing hymns on the guitar in his meditation room.

and when you walk in on him doing this you will probably think he is hot boxing.
and in a Mormon sort of way, he kind of is.

and you will just shake your head and say to yourself "how long is this mid life crisis going to last?"
but really in the back of your mind you don't ever want him to stop being your meditation guru,  hot boxing dad.

because to you, that's the best kind of dad.

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Forward it is

I spent an incredible weekend in Grand Junction Colorado, mostly trying to get out of Utah for a bit. A good portion of the weekend was spent lounging around watching Pretty Little Liars (Not even ashamed to admit that we almost watched a whole season in one weekend) but we did manage to get out to float the Colorado River which is now something I would do everyday if I could. We even ran into the owner of the blog The Secret Life of Bee  and I managed to become one of those fans that creepishly walks up in line of Cafe rio to say "Not trying to be creepy, buuut.. Love your blog. and uuuer uhh, your skirt too"

I cant even lie about wanting to get out of Utah by saying I just needed to see shannon because in a week we will be in California together, so that excuse is shot.

I went with the intention to go and cry to shannon about how much I want to get out of utah county. About how hard life is right now and how I am mad that the feeling I keep having is telling me to stay right here for awhile and not leave like I always find myself doing. There's that part of me (the part that took me to logan and then surprise! NY it is. Ohhp just kidding, a mission it is.) that hates to be tied down to anything and it's screaming at me so loud I can barely hear the subtle promptings I keep getting to STAY WHERE YOU ARE.

I've been mad.
And I'm mad that I am mad.
And shannon got to hear an earful this weekend of my whining and bitter rants.

But this is what I realized after a talk with shannon laid out on a blanket under the stars in the middle of the colorado desert.

I'm being an idiot.

But, srrsly.

My head is above water.
At least a lot more than before.
& I need to be grateful for that.

And where did that whole "Fatih" thing go that I learned to trust so well on my mission?? Huh? Huh?? I want that back.
I'm gonna get that back real soon here.
Because obviously I am trusting that there is a reason I need to be here because I haven't fled the Utah County scene yet despite the million and a half different escape plans i've come up with. I'm just trusting while kicking and screaming and complaining at every opportunity I am given.

Favorite plans to leave so far?
- Back to NYC comin at ya, and tell em.
-San Francisco with best friendship.
-Santa Barbara with the other best friendship.
- I even resulted to Salt Lake City as an option. I'm thinking "Okay you want me to stay here?? FINE. I'll move to salt lake. Close but not Provo, everyone wins".

By the time I came down from my "Screw this, I'm out of here and onto my next adventure" high, my thought to stick it out in utah county was still there, quietly waiting for me to accept him and start moving forward.

So, forward it is. Minus the whining like a small child.

 I wrote this while watching "My Teen Is Pregnant & So Am I"
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