Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I have is enough

I have a very, very blessed life. I know it and I try to recognize it often. I am abruptly reminded of it when I see a homeless person, hear a story of those who are financially struggling during these hard times, or see a handicapped person. But there are times when I think the grass is greener on the other side, so to speak. I'm not saying I want those hard times at all, don't get me wrong! I get jealous of things that other people have or are doing. I think I'm missing out on opportunities others are taking--spontaneous, frivolous, far-off trips or the adventure of starting a family (still going to wait on this one a little while). I feel like some of the people around me, like in my ward, are so amazing and that I could be that way too if I was given their callings and handled the trials they had. I could be a creative, thrifty, DIY wife (& future mother) if I were to search Pinterest long enough...and set aside enough time to buy and make such researched things. I could be incredible and always know what I've got when I've got it (remember that song "Yellow Taxi" by the Counting Crows? I wouldn't lose whatever it is that I have).

Really, Samantha? You're ridiculous. Get over it. Be happy with what you've got because it could always be worse. Am I right or am I right? I should just roll with the punches. Take life as it comes. You know all those cliche sayings. The thing about cliches, though, is that they're true.

But no matter what I'm feeling, I eventually snap out of it and realize that I have the Gospel in my life and that is enough.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Fever

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." ~Albert Camus

Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season! It seems like a lot of people I talk to love the summer and hate that now it’s so cold out. Summer’s great, especially when it comes to water sports and such but I hate being hot, sticky and sweaty. That’s basically how I can succinctly describe any summer I’ve experienced in the following places I’ve lived: Mississippi, Japan and Utah. This is especially true when lugging around a backpack all day at school. An exception to an insufferable summer is Vancouver, WA. It’s the perfect temperature there and one of the most gorgeous places you could visit. So basically, when Fall finally arrives I accept it like it's the Queen of England!

I just can't get enough of how crisp the air is, how gorgeous the leaves are when they change color, and the scrumptious delights that are baked during this time of year. It's like, "can life get any better?" Nope. :) Let me show you through pictures:

We can walk to the temple without sweating before we even get inside. And yes, Loren was growing a beard.

It's BYU Football time! First game of the season!!

Unfortunately, that was the horrendous game against Utah. We won't talk about it any further.

This game we won! But what's better-we got front row seats!! Cosmo was always 3 feet away me, never next to me. Poo. Btw, thanks Amelia for knocking some sense into me because


I get to see this everyday. And what can I say? BYU has a gorgeous campus :)

Fall = General Conference (if you want to know what General Conference is about, go here). I am fortunate enough to get tickets from my former Bishop, Rob Wallace--thanks again!

Conference while bf/gf--2010.

One year later. Conference as a married couple ^_^

Colorful landscapes going up Provo Canyon for a little BBQ/picnic. Beautiful, right?

The studly cook

Our fellow picnickers--BFF Candice (left) and Jessica (Loren's 2nd youngest sister)

Just one of the many yummy things I get to make in the Fall. Banana squash with dill sour cream sauce. Mmmm.

Fall is also when Halloween happens. We went to St. George the weekend before to spend time with the Stones. 'Twas fun :) We just relaxed, went on a triple date to a corn maze (I had never been to one before) with Loren's younger sisters, and ate delicious food. Patty definitely knows how to make healthy and filling food. I love eating there!

The two boys on the ends are brothers. Cute how it was a family affair, huh?

Rachel (whose head I'm trying to bite) looks positively devilish. :)

I will never cease to love Fall. I found this quote that perfectly expresses my admiration for the season (and my dream to fly) "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~George Eliot.

See how much we're in love, with each other and Fall?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh so busy and bridal

So when I was engaged, I was WAY too busy to blog. Even now I think I'm too busy to post, yet I take time to read other people's blogs... Doesn't make sense, right? Well I just want to catch you up on things that happened over the summer:

  • I was taking my Advanced Writing English class--Technical Writing. I heard it was a breeze, especially from the professor I signed up for. Turns out, she gave up her class to someone else. I though, OK, no big deal. Apparently, the teacher (but in reality, a grad student) I got thought someone died and made her Queen of AllmattersEnglish. She taught straight from her powerpoint slides (which she instructed us not to do--what the heck?) and she gave us dumb projects that she graded way too harshly for the in class time she gave us to work on them. We were required to write a 10-12 page research paper, a proposal (of which there was no page requirement but she said that she would think we were missing something if we didn't have it at least be 4-5 pages long. That's half the original paper length, woman!), and to top it all off--a 4-5 page review of a classmate's paper where we had to talk about its strengths, weaknesses (not being too harsh or easily, otherwise WE would be docked points), check the correctness of its quotes and resources AND give a grade that was within 5 points of what the teacher would grade it. Freaking ridiculous, right? I'm so glad that's all over with. I couldn't put up with her cheery but hard-A crap any longer. I was so ticked off from it all that I now only semi-regret writing her a scathing student review. She deserved it.
  • Anyways, I also got a job. I'll embarrassingly admit that it's the first in my college career. Fortunately, it deals with my major. It's called SEEL (Systematic & Engaging Early Literacy). Essentially, it's developing early elementary lessons that are geared toward teaching literacy through strategic but fun activities. If that doesn't make sense, I suggest that you check out their website-- It's pretty interesting :) I started volunteering with the SEEL team back in February, gathering materials for the lessons that are used in the classrooms. But in April, I got a paid position and my first assignment was to do assessments. Throughout the year, the Kindergarten kids were taught letters, spelling, reading and other skills like sound onset and rhyme and I tested them to see how well they learned those skills. It was kinda fun because the kids were cute but it took weeks to do and got old because I had to test 50 kids 3 separate times. @_@ But I've got different tasks now and it's pretty great! The people I work with are fun and smart and I'm hoping that this will help me get into grad school (Pleasepleaseplease)!
  • Oh lastly, I was engaged and planning my one and only wedding. It was so hard to do by myself. Normally, girls around here (going to school, LDS, have family close by) usually have their moms plan their weddings and the girls periodically just give their input. I wish that was me! I didn't even go all out on my wedding by choosing a fancy-schmancy reception center with a caterer, hundreds of flowers, etc., etc. and it was still hard. I could at least ask for help and opinions of family members and my wonderful BFF Candice Thomas. Without her, I would have crumbled under the pressure of trying to get everything to be decent, nice and put together. Candice and her family were like my family away from home--they helped me look for places to have the reception, made food for the reception, helped set up and take down the decorations and there for the much needed moral support! Oh how I love and appreciate them!!
Now on to pictures and a story :) (Background part) I had a hard time finding a photographer (because I didn't realize how far in advanced I needed to book one...whoops) but fortunately, had people reply to my facebook reply asking if anyone knew of a good photographer that wasn't ridiculously priced. A girl that's married to a guy from my old ward suggested his sister--Lacey Jones ( Her work looked very nice, I especially liked her prices, but most importantly--she was available! She was so nice and great to work with.

So on August 9th, 3 days before my wedding, we drove to the Salt Lake Capitol Building to take my Bridals.

I really like this picture...except that Loren's hand on my stomach makes it look like we're expecting. Not the case, fyi.

It was around this time that it happened. A tour bus of Chinese tourists unloaded from their bus and started walking up the stairs to where we were. They were flabbergasted when they saw us. We were shocked to see them. They started to take our pictures, too! They kept saying things to each other in Chinese, with the occasional English phrase shouted at us--"Beautiful!," "Congratulations!," "Wow!," and the like. I felt so weird. They were expecting to see American-type architecture and learn historical things...yet we were their first site. Sort of funny.

So as my photographer (Lacey) was taking this picture, a couple of Chinese ladies stood right next to her to take my picture. I felt like a star ^_^ So when they finally entered the Capitol Building, we all had a good laugh at the odd situation we were just put in. And then, a bus full of Italian tourists flooded the steps!! No joke! They were a tad bit more understandable when they were talking amongst themselves (all good things, of course) and they even chanted for us to kiss so they could take our picture! Haha :) We kept running by the tourists and they were always so sweet. That was the highlight of my day, by far!

Here are some of my fave pictures...even though you can see all of them on my facebook page.

If I have time tomorrow, I'll write about my wedding day. Stay posted! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm a rock! No, I'm a STONE!

Hello all! I'm FINALLY MARRIED!!! It's so glorious and I'm so happy that all of the stress, hassle and planning is at last lifted off my shoulders. *sigh*

So I'm now Samantha Stone :) It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Like a spy name! At least that's what I think ha. Lately I've been trying to make that official--drivers license (I miraculously was in and out of the DMV in 20 mins! But I had 2 sketchy guys watching me the entire time, yuck), changing my marital status at BYU but not my name until I have my new SS card, spent forever in the Social Security office today, and hopefully that's about all I have to do. Oh yeah, and merging our bank accounts so that it'll be our money. ;) We're becoming an actual married couple and family! We even have kids! Don't freak out!! They're bamboo plants ^_^ See?

Our first was the small one on the left is named Matthias Ka Lai lai (Fijian for "little thing"). And the bigger one is Bruce Kamagata (Fijian for "fire snake" bc I think he looks like a Chinese dragon). We got these little guys at IKEA--which I LOVE!

There have been SO many things I have to update about that I don't know where to start! I don't want to gush too much about our wedding until I have my pictures...which I'm still waiting for. Hhmph! :( I want them soooo bad! But I do have a few that I hijacked from people's facebooks, hehe. Here's a sneak preview of what's to come of my wedding day glory!

We just got out of the temple and was greeted by all of our wonderful friends and family!

Me and my BFFer Candice Thomas! My wedding was made possible because of her!

Cutting the cake!

Our first dance--precious!

Daddy-daughter dance--so glad we got to do this!

One of my favorite Bridal pictures

I will blog again soon to post pictures of our honeymoon to Hawaii--which was incredible, by the way!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

*Proposal Story*

I've been meaning to post this story for 2 months. Sorry for the delay... But without further ado... :)

A little background story: We had our temple date set for quite a while before we were actually engaged. Like a few months. We knew it was going to happen and we wanted to be on the safe side because the Salt Lake temple fills up quick for summer weddings. So that gave me peace of mind knowing we at least had a date, time and place figured out so early. But, for those who don't know--I'm sort of an impatient person, and I was starting to get anxious by March that I wasn't engaged yet. How could I ask family members to make arrangements for my wedding before it was too close to the date? My birthday rolls around (March 10th) and I was sure he was going to propose to me then--what could be a better present? Easy peasy right? Well, he made me think he was going to propose by asking if I wanted to go on a hike and picnic for my special day.

Here's me thinking the big day was finally here


So anyways, we go on the hike and had a picnic and instead of a ring, he wrote down the story of how we met and started dating. Very sweet. But not exactly what I was expecting. However, after that I turned on my Sherlock skills trying to figure out everyday how we was going to do it. Finally, the week before he proposes, I get all impatient, sort of whiny and ask in a 1st grade manner "why haven't you asked me to marry you yet?" :( Luckily, he thought that was very cute and amusing instead of annoying. Anyways, after I was being a child for a while, he tells me that he hasn't even thought about it yet. "Give me another month" he says. Can you believe the nerve!! He's trying to keep his serious face on because he had already bought the ring and was planning to propose to me within 7 days. Stinker. All the while I'm thinking "I have to wait another month to be engaged! How could he not have thought about what he was going to do if he wants it to be so great?! Uuugh!" I know, I'm ridiculous. But because of his reply to my question, I give up trying to figure out how and when he is going to propose.

So we go down to St. George (his home) for General Conference weekend to spend time with his family and to get away from stupid school before my exams arrive. We go to the St. George temple right when we get there because he promised me we'd go. Here's my favorite picture from that day

Blissful us enjoying the gorgeous weather and temple grounds

The next day we go on a family picnic, which we did the last time we went down so I didn't think anything of it, and go on a hike. Before the picnic though I notice some things but don't think much of them because I have my Sherlock skills turned off. Things like asking his sister to pick up stuff for him instead of us buying them, his family getting sparkling cider (for a picnic? That's different...) and things of that variety that I am not picking up on.

We go to Snow Canyon park and have an enjoyable picnic.

Unsuspecting me and Loren trying not to be nervous

We all eat and his sisters are "anxious" to go on the hike. They leave before the two of us because he's still chowing down on chips. Really, they needed to set up the proposal scene and he was taking his sweet time so they could prepare. Shortly after, we head out on the Hidden Pinyon trail. I'm having allergy sneezing attacks which gives the crew notice of how close we are. Eventually, I see this

I look over and see this

I'm instantly intrigued and tell Loren to follow. In actuality, I'm falling right into his hands. So we walk over and I discover this

Ignore my shadow

My first reaction is "Aw that's cute!" And then the next moment I say "It looks like someone proposed here" and I start to walk away. No joke. Loren is flabbergasted behind me and yells at me to come back. He gets down on one knee and I still don't believe him. I say "Loren, you're not funny. Stop using someone else's proposal." The reason I think this way is because he's fake proposed to me once or twice before. I am not about to give him the satisfaction of being fooled again. He pulls out a piece of paper and reads a poem he wrote for me but it isn't until after he says a few sentences that I figure that this is my proposal. He puts the paper away, grabs my hands and says the sweetest things about how we'll have a happy life together and he'll provide for me, etc. I'm totally crying throughout this and then he pulls out the ring and shows it to me. At this point my knees buckle and I'm completely inundated with tears and joy. He finally asks me to marry him, puts the ring on my finger and we do the usual--hug, kiss and take lots of pictures for blogging and posterity purposes :)

Imitated surprised look. But feeling true joy :)

I'll only show that one because I look like I had been crying, which is exactly what happened. But get this--his dad was hiding behind some bushes videotaping the whole thing! That was supposed to be a surprise but it slipped. So I'm gleefully walking down the trail back to the car when we meet his family who is about to serve us sparkling cider and congratulate us :)

One thing I don't appreciate about that day is how grubby I look. Really? Getting proposed to while wearing a BYU Basketball shirt and having my hair in a pony tail? Uh, gross. Oh well, it was a great day anyways. We finished it off with some yummy Mongolian food. Notice Loren's sunburn ^_^

Me proudly showing off my new engagement ring!

That's it! Hope it was an enjoyable story :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Beginning

This is the long awaited story of how Loren and I met!

It all started when I became friends with his older sister Amelia back in my home ward in Vicksburg, MS. We were Girls Camp counselors together then hung around dinky Vicksburg making food and little crafts. It was fun and all along she kept telling me that I should meet her brother who was coming home from his mission in FIJI. I wasn't too sure about it because she had set me up once before and that kid was awkward... NOT a reflection on her of course but still, that experience made me a bit weary :)

I ended up leaving her sweltering in the heat of a Southern summer to go back to school at BYU. We still kept in touch and she told me that she was visiting St. George, UT soon to see her brother come home. She said that I should come down to see her and added that I had meet her brother ;) I wasn't so sure about meeting her brother (because, really, how often does that sort of thing actually work out?) but I was excited to see her and visit St. George in the summer.

So on August 6th I drove down after my classes and arrived in the early evening, just in time for dinner. I was greeted by Amelia and her husband Jon and met her mom and one sister. After a few minutes everyone gathered around the kitchen table while I ended up bumping into Loren in the hall. Being a little surprised and scrambling for words, I threw my hand out for a shake and said "Hi, I'm Samantha! What's your name?" He snickered (thinking "you know my name") and replied "Loren." I felt pretty dumb for not thinking of something remotely better to say so I focused on what was on my plate and the family members around me. I noticed he kept looking my way during dinner but I shrugged it off thinking I was making that up in my head. It was fun talking to the family and listening to his slight but oh so cute British accent :)

Anyways, that weekend we did a lot of fun things...

We went to a concert of women singing patriotic songs in the town's tabernacle
Our first picture together--at a park outside the concert. He was in the process of making a funny face

After tubing down the Virgin River

Jumping pictures outside the St. George temple

Notice the hand-holding :) That was actually the second occasion. The first was tubing down the river because my tube was floating away and he caught me by the hand...and didn't let go! ;)

His Homecoming: Isn't he so cute in his sulu (Fijian skirt)?

He actually paid quite a bit of attention to me at his homecoming. He kept talking to me and glancing over and saying bye when people left...oh well :) I noticed he shook this girl's hand that he knew in high school and I wondered if he would do the same to me. When I left I gave everyone in the family a hug and thanked them for my stay, I asked if he preferred a handshake. He opted for the hug :)

The next day he added me on Facebook, after asking me earlier if I had "the Facebook"--I thought that was so adorable! We communicated through messages (because he didn't have a phone yet) and he asked me on a date for next Thursday. That surprised me because he lived 4 hours away but he was coming up to help his dad with their family's condo. That day, August 12th, was the last day of my Summer term finals so that was a good day for 2 reasons (and soon to be 3)! I ran home, butterflies in my tummy, and got ready. We ate Pupusas (like a meat and cheese pancake) at the El Salvadorian restaurant in town then had a pie shake at Sammy's. All the while I kept thinking how attractive he was and how much fun we had talking and laughing. The date ended after 3 1/2 hours--I'm sure his dad was wondering when the heck he was coming back to help him.

The date was seriously my best first date because we were able to talk and talk without any awkward pauses or long silences switching to other conversation topics. A week and a half later I went to San Diego for my freshman roommate Amy's wedding. When returning, we drove back up through St. George and called Loren to have dinner together.

We got to see each other again--yay!

Less than a week after that, he had a mission reunion in Salt Lake. He wasn't sure if he was coming up but after joking with me that I could come to the reunion as his "pretend girlfriend" and I accepted, he made his way up :)

Our day tour of Salt Lake City, UT

We went to the reunion and everyone was shocked that he had a girlfriend. He had only been home for a month while these other guys who had been around for a lot longer were showin' up stag. All the older missionary couples were telling me what a wonderful guy he is and what a great missionary he was, etc. I felt a teeny bit guilty for not actually being his girlfriend...but it's not because I didn't want to be! ;)

He stayed over til Sunday where we went to my new ward's very first church meeting of the semester. This boy had the nerve to hold my hand in front of everybody, almost as if he was marking me as his territory. My first thought was "Well, I guess I'm not going to date anybody here... Oh well, who cares?" I tried to supress my grin that was growing ear to ear but I'm sure he caught a glimpse of it. We had a wonderful afternoon eating chili, introducing him to Psych and talking up a storm. I felt bad that I kept him in town til 9pm, whoops. I guess we had a lot to say. Not only that, he kissed me! ^_^ By then it was too late, I was over the moon for this boy!

The rest is history. Over the months we tried to visit each other as often as we could, trying to work around school and work schedules. We were able to see each other only once or twice a month but we talked for hours at a time every night (I think our record was over 4 consecutive hours). I honestly think Heavenly Father had a part in all of this. Considering the long 261 mile (who's counting?) distance between us, we were able to see each other 4 times in one month of meeting each other. If we weren't able to do that, I don't know if we'd really be together right now... Ok here's a few pictures from those few and far between visits...

General Conference Weekend

LS heart
& SB

I'm glad we worked out, otherwise this poor tree suffered for nothing

Surprise visit! Detour from Mindy's wedding in Arizona returning home

Snow Man building with his sisters 2 days after New Years

The story now is that he lives up in Provo, just a few short blocks away from my apartment--MUCH better than 4 hours! We get see each other every day--cook food, study side by side, occasionally watch an episode of the hilarious Shawn Spencer in Psych, and now plan our wedding :)

Proposal story coming soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Even Better

What's better than a birthday? A birthday weekend! My birthday was pretty uneventful. I just went to school all day, did baptisms at the temple then went grocery shopping. Unfortunately, Loren had to work til close so I didn't have any plans with him. Luckily I have some cool roommates and they took me out to Spark, a fun swanky lounge that serves non-alcoholic drinks :)

Me, Ashli and Kayla--Double berry and kiwi martinis

But after we got home, Loren was waiting to deliver these beautiful roses! I'm so lucky to have him!

On Friday, I only had an 8am class and the rest of the day I was freee! So Loren and I made yummy crepes and went on a hike. We tried Stewart Falls up around Aspen Grove but it was still under heavy snow, so we went to Bridal Veil Falls instead.

See how happy we are? Even with the detour to our plans

We packed a lunch and found a sweet spot onlooking the falls. See!

It's called the Love Shack!
It's seriously gross inside but it's a nice place to lay your blanket down and enjoy the sun :)

Here are some other pictures from our adventure...

This rock looks like an alligator, huh?

We had to take this picture but I think we're still cute and hey, we got the falls in it

After that picture someone offered to take this for us, yay!

And here's my favorite! Hehehe

Pretending to slip on, but really trying to break, the ice

After our hike, we got ready to go to Loren's mission trainer's wedding reception.

This was after he and his new wife cut the cake and shared it...the messy way ;)

Then we practically flew back to Provo to make it to our reservation at the best restaurant in town--TUCANOS!

Mmmm...full bellies ^_^

Saturday, the two of us just hung around the apartment, made food, did whatever until he had to go to work. I had a really lazy day but had to get ready for my birthday party that my BFF Candice threw for me! We had mocktails which were delish! But my favorite feature of the event, by far, was the CUPCAKES!!

She's amazing! She made a red velvet w/cherry filling, lemon w/lemon filling, chocolate w/chocolate filling and my favorite--chocolate w/raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting w/ a strawberry on top ^_^

The party didn't last all night and didn't include a lot of people, just good, close friends, but that's all I needed! I had a lot of fun and appreciate all the effort that was put into it! Here are some other pictures of the night:

Jordan, Ashli, and Phil

This is a fave. My roommate Kayla and her fiance Dave

This is my "oh you're taking a picture of me? Sure thing! This gives me a chance to show off my inner dork!"

Playing the animal game. Everyone has a sign and you pass "it" around clapping a certain rhythm. Sorta hard to explain but fun and easy to play. You just slap your legs a lot doing it.

Gotta have a shot of blowing out the cups of cake :)

And one of the gang! I like the personality in it

P.S. Loren had to close for work again (super lame) but came later to the party. I just failed to take a picture of us. Oh well.

Then comes Sunday. That morning was a little rough on all of us I think. It was Daylight Savings which means losing an hour of sleep--very precious to college kids! But it was such perfect weather outside that it didn't matter! And because it was so nice out, I wanted us to take some cute pictures. So I snagged my roommate Ashli and we took pictures on the temple ground. Cheesy, I know. Shush. This one is my favorite

After that, we made some cookies for the ward Break the Fast. Poor Loren had to wait in the back of the line while all the girls got to be first in getting food. Don't worry, I grabbed some extra yummies and gave it to him while he had to wait in line. I wouldn't let him go hungry. Following that, we just enjoyed the day! Visited Candice some, played foosball (we each won a game but my competitive side wasn't happy about ending on a losing note), I had to take a quiz for a class and then we said goodnight.

All in all, it was the best weekend! It was spent in good company, in the most perfect weather that I could ever dream of, and lasted for more than one measly day! Perfecto! Here's to being 22! :D