Tuesday, December 20, 2016


 On Friday we had a sleepover with friends. In the morning the boys went shooting and the girls went to the The Farm at Agritopia for U-Pick. 

I loved supporting this little, urban farm. We picked several types of citrus; pomelo's, oranges, lemons, tangelo's and blood oranges. 

There was a sign stating "no professional or commercial photography" - it's a good thing too cause I was about to call and book a photographer for family photos. It was so beautiful!

B. Egan
Next time, we'll bring Dada with us. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


We've been out of the country for 11 days. R & I couldn't have taken this trip if it weren't for Nana watching H the whole time. She was able to take him to Thanksgiving to be with his cousins, Aunties and Uncles. We love her and a big thank you!

We headed to New Zealand with my siblings to visit my parents who are there serving an LDS mission. Most of you might know the "rules" that missionaries aren't allowed visitors, and this is true for the 18-26yr old missionaries serving. When you are older you are able to go on another mission as a "senior missionary" with your spouse. The senior missionaries are allowed visitors with approval from their Mission President. We got the approval and off we went!

My entire life I've heard stories of the Polynesian people, particularly the Maori people as my Grandfather served as a 19 yr. old missionary in New Zealand. He later returned throughout his life 25 times to New Zealand and many times to the other Islands of Polynesia. He served in various callings in our church and would go to these lands to help establish buildings, run the temple, and help the people create better lives.

I couldn't be more thrilled to finally see the land of New Zealand. We travelled all across the North Island.

Whaitemata Harbour (Auckland Harbour)
This is the main access by sea to Auckland, New Zealand

Real Fruit Ice Cream
We are trying to convince my dad to bring this back to the states. You would die of deliciousness. 

The movie set where they filmed The Hobbit movies.

Can anybody tell me what is so unique about this tree above Bilbo Baggin's house?  


Cambridge, NZ
The cute town known as, "The Town of Tree's and Champions". If you are here I recommend Queen Vic Chippy Fish & Chips for lunch or dinner.

Speed Boat
in Taupo, NZ
This was a family favorite as this little boat has two engines equalling  700 horsepower. We road around on the river weaving in and out of trees and branches and doing 360's. We had a great time laughing and getting wet.

Aritiatia Dam 
in Taupo, NZ
The rapids of the Aritiatia Dam is where they filmed the scene in the Hobbit where they are escaping the castle of the elves in empty barrels.

Huka Falls
in Taupo, NZ

Glow worm caves
These caves have been here since the 1800's. They are taken care of by the descendants of the Maori explorer who discovered them. Our tour guide was a 6th generation granddaughter. Fun fact: if you marry into their family you can have your wedding underground in these caves! Unfortunately, photos are not allowed here.

Bungee Jumping at 'Taupo Bungy'
R & I have had this on our 'Couple Bucket List', how thrilling it was to check it off!

Mount Maunganui & the beach
in Tauranga, NZ

LDS Temple
in Hamilton, NZ 

 Ric and I are doing a "Hongi"

Marae -  A sacred meeting house within the Maori culture. To enter you have to be invited and called in by a Maori Elder. We were invited by one of Grandfather's old friends Brother Tata. An incredibly humbling experience being in here.

Agradome Sheep Show
in Rotorua, NZ

Raglan, NZ
They boys surfed in the Tasman Sea. Not great waves the day we were there, but they each managed to catch a wave or two. I also highly recommend eating at Raglan Fish they catch the fish right outside, as this is on the wharf, then you are able to watch them filet the fish and bring it over to the kitchen to fry. It was so fun! I often ate the Snapper fish.

Bridal Veil Falls
in Raglan, NZ

It was great to meet so many of my Grandpa Rudd's friends. We were hosted for dinners and visits. I just gave big hugs to many who's names and stories I have heard. Some locals took us out Ocean Fishing & if you are able to do so, take advantage of the opportunity!

My parent's mission over in Hamilton, NZ is to run Camp Tuhikaramea (previously known as Hamon's Bush). It is 42 acres of land that they tend to. They have planted over 2,000 trees there that are strictly native to New Zealand. They have a nursery of over 10,000 trees they are growing. The seeds are harvested from the trees already planted on the land. They also have 10 cabins and 20 campsites. The camp can hold over 400 people. My parents host youth camps, family reunions and gatherings here. People rent out the pavilions or amphitheaters for weddings and receptions. 

And many travelers who have come from the South Island of New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and surrounding islands to visit the LDS Temple in Hamilton will stay at Camp Tuhikaramea. My parents are extremely busy to say the least! They were so kind to host us for these 11 days. 

This was my "kiwi friend" that I met on the plane ride over, Claire. She had just finished up 4 weeks of traveling in Australia and Mexico. She was so nice. She follows my blog so I told her to keep watch for her picture!

I am not a professional photographer or videographer, but still all the photos I've seen on the internet or through publications did not do this land justice. The land of New Zealand was incredibly breathtaking, over and over.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Three months ago: 
. consuming a liquid diet because the absence of appetite & being too ill to consume much
. elevated body temperature that it was determined to covered my body in ice packs
."you're scaring us," the phrase uttered from a nurse when I made a request about something I don't even remember. But, I do remember that reply, and probably always will. I appreciate her honesty.
. no real estate on my arms, due to the multitude of lines planted in them
. a catheter placement because of the loss of bladder control
. using a bed pan because of the shortage of strength to move
            -should be noted that the medications and liquids being pumped into my body didn't help these last two entries
. a successful day of physical therapy was sitting up in bed
. ingesting blue slushies --> turning my mouth/lips blue --> & startling more than one person that I may have a hazardous lack of oxygen 
             -this was by mistake, but was so funny to me it made me smile - a nice sensation compared to others consuming these days
. fatigue, yet inability to fall asleep...beeping alarms, opening and closing of doors, bathroom attacks, poking, proddings and tests
. pain
. a successful day of physical therapy was moving to the edge of my bed
. being in a state of wonder
. feeling tremendous love from family and friends
. having a constant companion (thank you Joni my MIL and Uncle John)
. a successful day of physical therapy was having the energy to have someone else wash my hair 
            -an immense amount of love and gratitude was felt as my mother-in-law cleansed and braided my hair
 . complete submission and will to others decisions for me
 . anxiety
 . fear and faith
 . gratitude

 . diet full of meat and potatoes
 . "you've come so far," from physical therapists
 . scar tissue protruding my veins
 . scaring on my arms and neck
 . bathroom composure
 . living in my (our) own apartment
 . being someone's constant companion
 .caring for myself (& a child)
 . walking
 . running
 . hiking
 . feeling tremendous love from family and friends
 . directing my own decisions
 . energy increasing weekly
 . happiness
 . gratitude

People ask, 'why do things like this have to happen to you?' People have stated, 'bad things always happen to good people.' I appreciate their concern and sincere sympathy. I know I have thought those same things when I hear of others going through hard times. But when I hear these phrases directed towards me, I think, "Why not me? I am no exception or less deserving of trials/illness/ailments then others." "Not everyone may agree that I am a 'good person'." "Something that may be considered 'bad' or 'hard', can also be looked at as, 'something to learn from'." As I've pondered these phrases, it reminds me of a scripture that has taught me repeatedly throughout my life, "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things." This, I can stand and say is true in my own life. I don't know "why" things happen to others or myself, but I do know that I have felt God's love to a great heighth. It might not be immediately during a hard time, it might be several months or years later that I have received clarity and a sense of understanding of "why" something may have happened. I believe these feelings have come because I have reached out to God searching for understanding. 
The virus that attacked my body in August/September is still in my system. It will be lingering through the month of March (six months). Yet, I have seen a rather rapid increase in my well being. I have thought, "Why am I the lucky one to rebound so quickly, when others suffer fatigue and pain the entire six months"? I don't know this yet. Maybe he is giving me a break. Maybe something else is around the corner. I am not where I used to be, on both ends of the spectrum. I am not as strong and filled with the stamina I once had, but I am not as weak and helpless as I so recently was. These things I am grateful for, because it has taught me humility as I have learned to rely further on others. It has taught me patience. It has taught me gratitude for my body and the incredible things it is able to endure and withstand. As well as it's abilities to heal, recover and continue on. I am in awe.

I am grateful for my body. I am grateful for those who selected jobs that require you to see others at their very worst, and still choose to show compassion and care for them. I am grateful for the support system around me - physically and online. I am grateful for parent's who taught me about a Heavenly Father. I am grateful for his loving Spirit that reminds me, I am never alone. I am grateful that this holiday season we all have the opportunity to reflect on the Christ Child and remember the peace he did bring, and has brought to so many. May we follow in his example and be one to bring peace in our families, communities, neighborhoods and in our own little corners of the internet. 

download this tree printable here

Xx, M