Monday, February 29, 2016

Epiphanies

Here are a few epiphanies I have learned since I left home and moved to Provo. I have a strong testimony of the truthfulness of these things.

1) There is no such thing as a Prince Charming.
2) Every relationship is different.
3) Kindness is dang attractive.
4) Communication is KEY.
5) You have divine potential. Be kind to yourself.
6) Happiness is a choice.
7) Working out and taking care of your physical body helps you better appreciate it.

It all comes back to this: TRUST IN THE LORD.

1) Ladies who believe in a Prince Charming...sorry to burst your bubble. But don't worry! I'm learning that it's just how life is and I'm learning that real life is much better than dreams anyway. I don't think there is any such thing as a SOULMATE...that is, UNTIL you get married.
Once I have made the decision to get engaged and my fiancé and I are sealed for time and all eternity in the House of the Lord, then we will forever be soulmates. I am so excited for that day! It will be so happy. It will be the beginning of a wonderful adventure and I want to prepare for it as much as I can. I think going on a mission will help a lot with that. So...

~Dear future husband,
I don't know who you're gonna end up being yet. But I love you and I pray for you.
And I am going on a mission right now for many reasons. Because I love the Lord and I want to serve Him. Because I believe that this is the true gospel and I want everyone to know about it. Because I want to learn and grow personally. And because I love you and I want to be the best possible wife to you and mother to our future kids someday. I know I don't know who you are yet exactly, but I trust my Father in Heaven and I know that someday things will work out with us. And I am SO looking forward to that someday :)
Con mucho amor,
Monica~

2) You learn something from all past relationships. And the lessons you learn will probably help you with the relationship that turns out to be the eternal one. Also, it can be fun and enlightening to talk to friends and family members about relationships. Hearing about experiences and examples (whether good or bad) from other people can help you to some extent. But remember that, ultimately, your relationships are between YOU, THE OTHER PERSON, AND GOD. Just remember that.
3) So be genuinely kind.
4) And be OPEN and HONEST. 
5) In high school I sometimes struggled with this. I knew that I was a daughter of God and that He loved me...but I would get down on myself sometimes because I didn't fit in. I never had a boyfriend. I never got asked out on a date. And I hated social gatherings - dances, parties, hang-outs, anything. Seriously. Sometimes I felt like no one liked me and no one ever would. I cared too much about what other people thought of me and it really messed me up for awhile. I rarely mustered the courage to say what I wanted to say or do what I wanted to do. I wasn't myself. But when I left Yuma, I was able to gradually overcome my weaknesses and learn to love myself and BE myself - no matter what other people might think of me. Believe me, it's a much happier way to be.
6) So CHOOSE to see the good and be the good.
7) Our bodies are AMAZING. Find something active that you love to do. And then embrace it! Whether it be running or swimming or yoga or hiking. Go for it. Not only does working out help you reach your body's full potential, but it also helps you come closer to God. When I run or workout, I am always made more aware of the amazing gift that my body is. Heavenly Father is the master creator and we are His greatest creations. I just love working out because it helps remind me of my gratitude to Him and I feel like it's my way of expressing my appreciation to Him for such a wonderful gift.


"Only through opposition can we learn the lesson of mortality for eternity."
And because running can be hard, I've learned lots of lessons through my experiences with running. Here's an example of a metaphor for life that I came up with. My battle for abs is like me in life.
Confused? Let me explain. I work out fairly regularly. But nothing like when I was running for Cibola high school and BYU. At my peak (when I was a D1 college runner), I was running anywhere from 50 to 80 miles every week, doing ab workouts every other day, and lifting weights 2 or 3 times a week.
Yet, I have never had a six-pack. Not even close. The closest I've gotten is...when I flex my stomach, you can kinda sorta see a hint of something there.
I would always ask myself...WHY??
Here was my thought process: Well, I'm obviously doing enough cardio and strength training. I'm fueling my body and taking time for injury prevention and recovery. Why can I never attain the coveted washboard abs?
Well, here's why. I have a major sweet tooth. And I eat junk food whenever I get the chance.
That right there, is the reason. And possibly genetics plays a part too...idk.
Soooo what does this have to do with me in life?
Well, I'll tell you.
I know what I want. I know how to get it. But I don't put forth my very best effort all the time.
See?
I know what it takes to have a six-pack and I'm working really hard at it, but I also love food and occasionally binge-eat an entire bag of popcorn or 3 bowls of ice cream.
And just like that, I ALSO know exactly what it takes to achieve eternal life and be Christlike, but I struggle and I make mistakes and I fail. I am not perfect.
All that being said, I will probably never have a six-pack. My love for chocolate (outweighs...actually I won't say outweighs...but it definitely BALANCES out) my love for working out.
However, unlike my abs metaphor...
I do consider ETERNITY to be worth it.
Which is why I am going on a mission.
Sure, it's not the answer for everyone. But for me, at this time in my life, I know it's what I need to do to become the best that I can be.

Work/Fun

We take holidays very seriously around here.
It makes work fun.

P.S. Happy Leap Year! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bzzzzzzzzz

The other day I went running and I was attacked by bees. I was stung three times before my mom was able to rescue me, but I'm just glad it wasn't more. There were a ton of bees swarming around me. If this situation ever happens to you...My words of advice are: try to make as little noise and motion as possible. When I was able to calm down, they weren't as aggressive. But believe me, it's easier said than done. I started panicking again because it's really hard to remain calm when a swarm of bees are in your hair and buzzing all around you. Gross. It was terrifying. But looking back on it, I can see it was a terrifying AND HILARIOUS experience. And thankfully I'm not allergic to bees!


Here's another adventure from this morning...How do I get myself into these escapades?



Check this out! 2012 and 2016.
My mom made me take the earlier picture with him. I was a little embarrassed. We didn't even know each other. I mean, not REALLY. We had some random, weird connections (like...we went to PRE-SCHOOL together and my family bought his family's house when they moved), but we went to different high schools so our only interactions were few and far between. We'd bump into each other at church dances, youth conferences, and athletic events occasionally. But that's it.
Fast forward to now...we're dating. And it's the best thing ever.
And my mom totally called it.
I think mothers have this special womanly intuition about their children...seriously!

So yeah, I'm definitely feeling very blessed right now.
If my Heavenly Father hadn't guided and directed me to make the decision to serve a mission at this precise time, then our paths probably would not have crossed. He got back from his mission around the same time that I went back home from Provo. Life is crazy and I don't know what the future holds, but I trust my Heavenly Father. I'm giving my farewell talk this Sunday so I've had to start organizing my thoughts for that. So I will post about some of the major epiphanies I've had and lessons I've learned/I'm still learning up to this point in my life. Not right now, but sometime soon.



P.S. I love my family!

Monday, February 22, 2016

My brothers (and my sister!) are the BOMB.com

From Thomas:


From Diego:
This is HUGE coming from Diego, believe me.

From Joshy: "Cool you rock sissy!" I was trying to help him out with a date he has coming up.

Not gonna lie...expressions of love from brothers are usually few and far between. So I was very blessed today. And it made me very happy :)

From Fiona: She is my best friend. She cuddled with me and listened to me talk (more like gush) and put up with me teasing her about a boy. #gurlstuff

I love my family so much. And I love that families can be together forever. Thank goodness for a loving Father in Heaven who created a Plan of Salvation for each one of us.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Our France story...in a nutshell

PARIS ADVENTURE
Friday - Louvre
Saturday - Palace of Versailles, Le Petite Train, river boat down the Seine, twinkling Eiffel Tower
Sunday - Church behind the modern art museum (Centre de Pompidou), the Notre Dame Cathedral
Monday - shopping!, Arc de Triomphe
Tuesday - Grandma K stayed at the hotel, TOP of the Eiffel Tower, Napoleon's Tomb and Les Invalides, Pizza Hut, Sephora 
Wednesday - Facials, FNAC, Caprice Cafe
Thursday - Dad was sick (he stayed home), we went to the opera and Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde
Friday - Sacré Cœur, Musée D'Orsay, Seine River, Greek food


KEY: 
G - Grammy; D - Daddy; F - Fiona; and M - Monica (me)

Facetiming Mami towards the end of our time in Paris...
G: Anyone who can put up with these two crazies is a saint. 
F: A week is obviously too much.
G: TWO DAYS. 

F: When you realize you're turning into Dad. Because you start wanting to teach people self-defense moves and you have a song for everything.

WIND CHILL FACTOR is a real thing. THERE IS (almost) ALWAYS WIND IN PARIS AND IT'S FREAKING COLD.

How long would it take to see everything in the Louvre?
If you spent 100 days in the Louvre, then you'd be able to see everything. But only if you were there all day every day and spent 30 seconds on each work of art. 

I wonder what the original inhabitants of the Palace of Versailles would think of it now since everyone and anyone who coughs up 15 euros is allowed to walk around and gawk at everything.

Things I observed about France and French people:
There's plenty of PDA. (I now know why French kissing is dubbed FRENCH kissing.)
There's not as many obese people.
Dinner is later than the standard in the U.S.

F: I feel like the French people don't laugh. 
M: you're right.
F: we're over here having a good guffaw now and then and they're just like...[insert straight-faced emoji]

M: let's go get hot chocolate to warm up! 
G: let's go to where I used to live. There's a bakery where we can get hot chocolate near there!
F: let's go to Angelina's!
G: do you know the address?
F: no.
G: do you know the metro stop?
F: no.
G: you need to get on it, woman!

A little while later...
G: I need chocolate.
M: I like being with you, Grammy.

A lady came up to Fiona and starting speaking French. Her response: ¿Que?

F: Hey, look, they're advertising tampons! (She thought it was kinda weird...)
G: hahahaha
Me and Fiona: uh, what's so funny, Grammy?
G: Because tampon doesn't mean what it means in the U.S.

Convo at lunch:
F: I remember when they put selfie in the dictionary. And twerk.
G: (starts gagging)
F: Do you know what twerking is, Grammy?
G: Yes, that's why I'm getting ill.
D: One of these days that's gonna be Old English. Twerkovim: to make a fool of yourself while dancing.
Everybody: (laughing)
Later, G: Orangina almost came out of my nose.

Fiona & I were chatting away about something. 
Dad was reading a book. 
Dad starts laughing. We ask if he's laughing at us or at his book. This has happened before and we've always wondered. This time, it was us :)

Fiona got up from the bed and walked two steps to grab water. I sat down where she had been on the bed, knowing what was coming. She backed up and sat down on me. We bust up laughing. Grammy and Daddy start laughing at us. Just one of many happy moments together.

On the day we were going to venture to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Fiona woke up early (she wasn't sure how early) and got ready because she was so excited. She put on her clothes, shoes, make-up. When she came out of the restroom, no one else was up so she checked the time...it was 11:30pm.

We mastered the metro.
Plus there's always the fool-proof method of just getting on at a stop and if you're going in the opposite direction of your destination, then you get off and over and then get on the next metro train going the right way.

Fiona and I were sitting on a bench, resting, while Grammy and Dad went to figure something out for our car rental. I was keeping a lookout while Fiona scrolled through all my photos. 
Here's the sequence of events:
I saw some missionaries go by. They were such a friendly sight. I told Fiona about them and wondered out loud if I should go talk to them. But the moment passed and they were gone so we just sat. Then we had a very negative experience with a young-ish beggar dude. He was probably in his late 20s. Ugh. I don't want to remember it so I'm not going to write details. After that, I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach and I was grateful we were in a very public place. I kept feeling queasy, and I wished that we could miraculously see more missionaries. I just wanted to chat with friendly people. So I prayed out loud: "Heavenly Father, please send some missionaries our way," I pleaded. 
Not even two minutes later...I spy the same two missionaries that had walked by earlier, this time with food in their hands. Yay! They must've just stopped to grab a bite to eat. This time I didn't hesitate. I ran to them and we chatted for a little bit. Then they had to go catch their train. And Fiona and I returned to our bench, feeling much much better. I'm so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven. Now I'm praying that Grammy and Daddy return. Pronto. 
Update: They did return. They had to walk halfway across Paris to accomplish their mission, which is why it took them so long. But we were finally reunited and I was so relieved.

"I live for escalators." - Fiona

Fiona really wanted to us to get facials in Paris. So we got facials for the first time. My face was washed, dried, exfoliated, scrubbed, squeezed, electrocuted, massaged, and moisturized. That's what it felt like to me anyway.

"I'll try not to stick my finger up your nose." - Fiona to grandmother

Grandma: "French people don't get ketchup."
Fiona: "Well I don't get snails."
Grammy thought she said Chanel instead of snails...

Daddy, Fiona, and I were waiting outside the hotel room where we thought Grammy was inside. I knocked on the door a few times. Nothin. Fiona and I were both hangry so we got in a couple little arguments...
Still waiting...
Finally I ask: Did she go downstairs??
F: Oh yeah! She said she was gonna go downstairs. 
We all bust out laughing and I give Fiona a hard time. But I love that girl.

F: (sees a pigeon and chases it a few steps) Birdy! Birdy!
M: When I see those, sometimes I get the urge to step on them. 
F: Me too! 
We're horrible.

F: I really wanna talk about makeup.
M: What?
F: I really wanna talk about makeup.
M: Oh. Do any of your friends like makeup? 
F: Not really.
M: Talk to Mom.
F: No! She doesn't like makeup.
M: (jokingly) Then talk to Dad!
F: Actually I do! I talk to him about makeup more than anyone else. Cuz he listens!
Oops...

French food we ate:
Yummy stuff, lemme tell ya.
Croque-monsieur
Baguettes
Mousse au chocolat
Quiche Lorraine (de jambon)
Orangina 
Pain au chocolat 
Beignets (BEST thing ever)
Macaroons (I was not impressed.)

Shopping with Grams

We were going to visit Normandy one of our days in France, but Dad got sick and he never gets sick. So he stayed in bed all day that day. Thankfully, he felt much better the rest of the time we were in Paris.














I thought of my mommy and my middle name.






















Snow!!!