Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And then there were 27

Wow. Another year has come and gone and I am still in shock. I turned 27 a few weeks ago and let me tell you....that is even more of a shock, yo! I can't believe it. For a bit I was struggling with the idea of entering my late 20's. I don't know if I am the only one who does this but I kind of tend to treat my birthdays like New Years. I look back on the year, I take stock, and sadly most of the time... I make myself feel like horse poop.
It's easy to compare your life to the picture you have in your head of how things should be. And truth be told, if you have a picture in your head of how it's supposed to be, it's pretty near perfection. And that makes real life REAL hard to measure up. Especially when you are using a skewed yardstick like most of us tend to do and are super hard on ourselves. I know I am.
I tend to get disappointed with things and think to myself "This is SO not what I pictured I would be like, or how things would be when I was (insert age)!"
And before you know it I am stuck in the comparison trap.
I compare my life to others.
I compare my circumstances to others.
I compare how I handle things to how others do.
I compare what others have to what I have.
I compare my body, hair, makeup, talents, etc to all those seemingly perfect girls around me and blogs plastered all over the place.
And pretty quickly I feel like I come up ridiculously short.
But you know what I have finally started to realize?
I AM ME. There is NO one else who is me or ever will be, EVER.
Heavenly Father created me individually. He has molded my life individually. He has blessed me individually. He has loved me individually. He never intended for me to measure myself or my blessings by the yardsticks of others. He just want me to try my best, and be measured against what HE wants for me. And that changes daily. Sometimes my efforts for the day are amazing. I accomplish a lot. I use my talents. I serve. I study and pray more. I do better. Then some days are really hard, and I fall SO short from the day before. But you know what? If I am having a hard day He isn't expecting me to be my best self from another day. My best self for that day is what He wants. And He accepts my meager efforts, because sometimes that is all I can manage. He just says, "That's ok, try a little harder tomorrow."
He is not hard on us. WE are hard on us.
And when we compare ourselves and our lives to others it is only being ungrateful for the multitude of blessings He has given US individually.
I went into 27 with a much better attitude than I have the past few birthdays. He has blessed me to learn SO much over the past few years of my life. I have been stretched to the point of breaking. There have been trials I never would have wanted in a million years. There have been days so incredibly hard I couldn't picture them ever being even close to "good" again.
But over these last few years there has been SO much growth. I have been given SO much. I have been blessed WAY more that I have been hurt. Everything that has been a trial has turned into a blessing, or is on its way into turning into a blessing.
26 was SO good to me. I am so grateful for this year.
I crossed some major items of my bucket list like going to California and dipping my feet in the Pacific Ocean (which was a trip I WON, HECK yeah!)
I got 2 amazing jobs with families that I absolutely LOVED and were SUCH blessings to me
I expanded my photography skills and business
I traveled around and took day trips
I saw One Direction in concert TWICE, one if them was in FRONT ROW!!
I read the Book of Mormon 5 times
I started my own business selling shirts and prints I have spent years working on
(Wow as I read that I have a lot of blog posts to catch up on...haha...)

I am so grateful He has given me another year to be SO blessed. 27 is exciting! I can't wait to see what happens this year. I plan on making it AMAZING.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Confession Session

*I have a follow-through problem. Seriously. I have a stack of movies sitting by my TV that I have started and never finished- even though they some of are my FAVORITE movies. My best friend had a baby in JUNE and I started a project for her new baby before that. Have I finished it? Nope. And once I finish it actually mailing it out will be on a whole other level.

*I do not like talking on the phone. As a teenager I was obsessed and could spend hours every night gabbing away. Today I literally have to bribe my sister to call the chinese place for take out so I can avoid it. Thank goodness for online pizza ordering.

*Speaking of talking on the phone, whenever I do choose to do so, I have to brush my teeth first. I don't know, I guess it helps me feel more prepared. I feel like I am talking to someone with bad breath and that is the worst feeling, even though I know they can't smell my breath over the phone. It's weird.

*At the beginning of the year I was sitting in the car waiting for my sister to run an errand. I was looking in the mirror and something caught my eye. A WHITE HAIR. I fuh-reakin found a white hair on my 26 year old head (stress is a killer yo)! That is all kinds of wrong. I always pictured myself aging gracefully and accepting these things but that snowy little traitor tore that illusion to pieces and I'll admit for a few days I gave up because my life felt over. I have since recovered but started dying my hair again. Those little buggers can hide for 20 more years as far as I'm concerned. I'm not gonna take it lying down.

*I think fashion blogging and blogs that post mostly sponsored things are weird.  Don't get me wrong I follow a lot of fashion blogs and ones that do lots of sponsored posts but I've stopped reading most of them because they seem so fake. Give me real life people.

*My favorite band is One Direction. Heck yes. And I get freaking ANNOYED/homicidal/it hurts my feelings when people constantly feel the need to bash them to my face. A lot of these people being my friends. I am like "REALLY?! I have the courtesy to let you have your own taste in music without saying anything about what I disagree over. I UNDERSTAND we all have our own tastes." So I RESPECT IT. And music is personal yo, we all have what speaks to us, AM I RIGHT?! So don't put down what you don't understand. Instead SIT DOWN and shut up. K? Thanks. #sorrynotsorry

^^This is from when my sister and I saw 1D FRONT ROW in August. Which is UNREAL. Do you even know how many people are at their shows?! Try 70ish THOUSAND people. So to be able to get front row is RIDICULOUSLY amazing We bought the tickets in December 2013, that's NINE MONTHS of counting down yo. You can't fake that ecstatic excitement/happiness/pure joy. I don't understand why my friends try to put a damper on that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


So a little peak into my life latey:

The other night I got out of the shower after 10pm and had an intense craving for frozen yogurt. So I went. Just threw on some sweats, put a headband in my wet hair, and went.

I have developed a keen awkwardness around males. I used to be a very smooth flirt in front of the fellas. But I am here to tell you there is nothing smooth about gasping, spilling your drink, and tripping when you see a shirtless guy at work (yes this happened).

Speaking of tripping, and guys...this happened again the other day. I was walking out of my job and didn't clear a gate when I was stepping over it. This resulted in me falling and knocking over every other section of the gate in a quite impressive domino fashion. And bonus! It was in front of a guy I have a very school-girl-like crush on.

I literally hid my phone for an entire day to avoid real life.  I wanted to continue this, and still would be, but I realized I pay for that dang thing. Bills suck yo.

I stayed up till 3 for the past couple of weeks laughing my butt off at Urkel on Family Matters all alone in my room like a crazy person. This was regretted every time my alarm went off early the next morning for work, but not changed. I have my priorities. 

Speaking of Urkel, my mom surprised me and gave me a Steve Urkel doll she found at an antique store and I squealed almost as loud as I did when my sister and I scored front row One Direction tickets.

And one more "McKenzie is awkward around guys" story. While I was at work recently, I was having a rough day, which prompted a heart-to-heart with the cat of the family I work for. It was all fine and dandy till the guy I work for walked in and caught me talking to it.

And there ya have it, welcome to adulting folks.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Oh, life.
So much has been going on since I last wrote. And a lot of it has been really difficult. There have been days I haven't wanted to get up out of bed or even change out of my pjs. 
It's amazing how different life can be from what you expected. For both good, and bad. There have been a lot of challenges and lessons the Lord seems to be wanting me to have and to learn. And one of the things I am constantly being reminded of is the fact that He knows best. He knows what He is doing. And I can trust Him with my life. 
I remember back when my best friend and I were entering our twenties. She was home from college and we were visiting, having one of our many,many, MANY life talks. You know, the ones that are really deep and you just pour your heart out and your worries and your fears and hopes and dreams come busting out till the early hours of the morning. We were talking about the future, and how we were worried about what our futures held, we were questioning God's plan for us, and allowing ourselves to feel doubt and fear. Well, mostly me. And I will never forget my friend's response to my many "WHAT IF" questions. She said
"McKenzie, all I know is it's called 'The Plan of Happiness.' He WANTS US TO BE HAPPY. And even when we don't understand how, that's what is going to happen."
I was so humbled and taken aback by her very honest, yet very simple response. It hit me how true it is.
I KNOW that no matter what happens, Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. 
I KNOW that He is working in our lives to make our ETERNAL happiness possible. Because I don't know about you, but that, when you think about it, is really what's important to me. The FOREVER part. And we CAN be eternally happy, in His presence if we hold on and follow His ways while we are here in this life.
I KNOW that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ live.
I KNOW they love me. And they love you too.
I KNOW that even though there are hard days, days you don't know how you can possibly take anymore, days that your best effort is just to manage to get up and get dressed (or who am I kidding, just getting up period), THERE IS REASON FOR HOPE. We are never, ever alone. Everything that happens DOES happen for a reason. And we can trust in His plan, His purposes, and His timing. For surely they are SO much better than our own. They are far better and more than what our small, finite, mortal brains can even imagine.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Well heyyyy there!

I can't believe how fast 2014 is FLYING by. I had such good intentions for keeping up with my blog this year. I can't believe it has been 6+ months since I last posted. But hey, whatcha gonna do? Oh well. 
I have been seriously busy with SO many things this year. One of them being this little ditty one of my best friends and I have started together:

That's right! We started a dating blog.  We both have lots of opinions, crazy experiences, stories, and insights to share about our journeys in the dating world.  We would love for you to follow along. You can find our new blog, Boyless in the Burbs HERE.

And of course stick around this little bloggie of mine too. I have some seriously exciting things coming up! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

I am not a stop along the way. I am the destination.

With all the hype surrounding Valentine's Day, it got me thinking, as lover of love and a total hopeless romantic I actually truly enjoy Valentine's Day, even though I am single. GASP. I know, I know. Aren't I supposed to be wallowing in misery, stuffing my face with chocolate, weeping into my pillow because Mr. Right has not yet graced me with his presence and I am forced to spend yet another holiday focused on l.o.v.e. alone?
Nope. Not this girl.
You see, I have had Valentine's days where I was not single. I was in a relationship.  But you know what? Those were some of the most lonely Valentine's Days of my life.  
Why? Because I was in a relationship I shouldn't have been in.  I was with a guy who did not treat me like he loved me. Who did not value me. Who did not treasure or cherish me. Who, heck, didn't even bring me flowers or chocolates or even a stupid teddy bear that cost 2 bucks at Wal Mart ONCE. No, not once in the 8 years of on and off again dating did he buy me even one small trinket to show his affection.  He treated me like I was just some passing phase in his life, an OPTION, not a PRIORITY. 
A stop along the way, not a destination.
I am not putting all the blame on this boy. I take responsibility for accepting whatever sub-par, minuscule, ridiculous treatment/attention he graced me with.  I didn't see how incredibly wrong and horrible our relationship was at the time. It wasn't until him ripping my heart out of my butt and months and months of healing, praying, pondering, and learning to love myself happened that I realized I deserved more.  Much, much more. And I want more.
I am not something to be passed by.
I am not something that isn't worthy of attention.
I am not something you bide your time with, waiting  to see if something better comes along.
I am not something you see if you can "fit in" to your time, your schedule, your life when/ if it happens to suit you.
I am not an option. I am a priority.
I am not a stop along the way. I am the destination.

Realizing these things have been nothing short of life-altering.  It has changed the way I view myself, my time spent, who I spend it with, how I think about myself and others, how I treat others, what treatment I expect and accept from others, and who/how I consider dating.

I will not settle for a boy who doesn't treat me with respect and love.
I will not settle for a boy who does not see me as the Daughter of God that I am.
I will not settle for a boy who does not treat me right, who is thoughtless and selfish.
I will not settle for a boy who treats me like just another stop along the way. 

I will be with a man who sees me as the destination. Who cherishes, loves, confides in, needs, wants, and cares for me, because I know that is what I deserve, because that is what I give in return.

I just want to shout on the rooftops to anyone, male or female, who has been or is in a relationship where you are being neglected, mistreated, abused, what have you, that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SETTLE.  Do not just be with someone because you are afraid to be alone. Don't ignore red flags if they are there. Do not allow someone to make you feel like you aren't more than whatever bad treatment they can dish out.

This Valentine's Day I won't have a significant other, but I won't be sad. I will be with my friends, being HAPPY because I choose not to settle. I choose to be happy. I chose to have hope because I know that someday there will be a man that comes along, to me, happily stopping at his destination.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

To Mr. West Virginia

I don't even know where to begin...other than to say you have been on my mind a lot lately. Truthfully,this happens a lot.
I remember I liked you from the very first email you sent me.
 I remember how we would text and you actually asked me questions and cared and treated me wonderfully.  You actually called me beautiful, instead of hot. A lot of girls want to be called hot, but not me...I always wanted someone to see me as something deeper, not superficial- beautiful. And up until then "hot" was it.  
I remember how I couldn't focus the rest of the day after you told me.
I remember being SO impressed with you planning our first date.  You took charge of everything. You cared enough to go above and beyond, and it was glorious.  
 I remember our first date, that picnic up in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, and how you brought my favorite foods (without me even telling you what a lot were) and watching The Avengers at the mall.
I remember panicking, big time, and having a break down on the ride home, calling my mother in between fits of sobbing. 
The truth is you were my first date after getting my heart broken, and I found out quite quickly I wasn't ready to give my heart away again.  I hadn't even begun breaking down those steel-reinforced walls I had so carefully built around it.
And this.was.scary.  So I decided I needed another layer or two of steel, and some barbed wire for good measure.  
We stopped talking, and it was totally my fault. 
Time passed and I still thought about you.
I decided I needed to talk to you, to tell you I was sorry for dropping off the face of the earth.
You replied, so understanding and patient, and I could've jumped for joy.
We emailed again, we texted again, we made plans to meet again.
You drove over 6 hours to meet me at my house that Christmas break.
I remember becoming SO afraid again. And pushing that to the back of my mind, I owed you a chance.
We went to that arcade, and to dinner, and you treated me like a queen. 
Then a movie at my house, and you were respectful and sweet and you were so good with my family and even my two scared little dogs (who liked you!)
I remember waking up to a good morning text from you from our guest room downstairs.
And I became more and more frightened.
And I totally botched that batch of pancakes I made you ( I swear I can cook WAY better than that!)
By the end of the meal I was ready to bury myself in a hole. I was panicking again.And I felt like the scum of the earth.
I was convincing myself I didn't deserve you.
I sent you home with that loaf of Mennonite bread and a hug I could barely muster.
And I cried for days.
It made me SO frustrated. I thought for sure I was over that other guy completely, that my broken heart had healed, that I could trust again, that I was finally okay, and that I was ready to date and move on with my life.
And this was all just a huge freaking slap in the face saying "PSSHH, NOPE! YOU WISH! You still have a long ways to go, broken girl!"
So we stopped talking again. And AGAIN it was my fault. And we haven't really talked since.
And this is why I am here, to tell you I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry. 
That whole "it's not you, it's me" line is actually not a cliche, it's true. It WAS all me.
And now that time has passed, things have happened, prayers have been answered, peace has been restored, and slowly, oh so slowly,
my walls have been ripped,  torn, beaten, pushed, kicked, and crumpled down
 I wish I could talk to you.
But there's still this thing-I still feel like I don't deserve a chance. 
I have wronged you before and I want it to be different this time.
So for now I will say I am sorry, from the bottom of my heart
and hope that you might find this on my little corner of the internet
and maybe we can talk again
and I can prove to us both that I deserve this chance. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Words Will Be Just Words Till You Bring Them To Life

H  A  P  P  Y     2  0  1  4

(My sister, me, & my friends Christi & Amanda- AKA The Fabulous Four! New Years Eve)

I am SO excited for the New Year.  It is so wonderful to look back and see how blessed I was over 2013.
I remember starting off in January 2013 saying how I was DETERMINED to make it a better year than 2012.  I had spent that entire year healing from heartbreak and trying to figure out how to keep going, trying to figure out who the heck I even was.  So I was SO ready to say hello to 2013, and now, I cannot BELIEVE it is over! Seriously, it FLEW by. And I am happy to say I accomplished 2 out of 3 of my HUGE resolutions for that year.

They were:

O N E:  Go through the Temple and take out my Endowments- CHECK!

That April day was the best day of my life so far. I have such special memories from that day and it has been a gift that keeps giving and will my entire life. I truly LOVE the Temple!

and T W O:  Move To Utah- CHECK!

I TOTALLY packed up my Camry, busting to the gills with all I could fit of my earthly possessions inside, and drove the TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED miles across the country to try out Utah. How freaking awesome is that!? I am so proud that I took that chance and literally went on faith all the way across the country for an adventure. And after a few months and a LOT of prayer, pondering, phone calls, and fasting, I have since moved back to Pennsylvania. But I couldn't be happier to have had that adventure for those few months in 2013, and to be back on the east coast!
But that's a different story for a different time.

I am PUMPED for 2014 and I have A LOT in store. So many big plans for myself. This will be the year of

C    H    A    N    G    E
and I am ready! So here we go 2014, let's do it!  I am ready to bring my goals to life!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dear 20, Love 26

You know what it crazy to me?
How time can absolutely fly by, and slow down, at the same time.
Right now I cannot believe that I turned 26 last month.  I seriously have no idea how I got here.  I feel like I just turned 20.  
But, I feel like 20 was a lifetime ago.Yet it feels like yesterday. Strange.
How did six years pass by without me even realizing it?
 I feel like if I passed my 20 year old self on the street I would hardly recognize her.
It got me thinking...if I somehow could see my 20 year old self, and tell her things about herself, warn her about things I know would be coming for her, comfort her, give her advice, tell her what would happen in the next six years....
would I?
You see, the past few years I have struggled severely with regret.  It was something I had never really thought of before. Something that never bothered me.  Something I never worried about. I guess that's because up until the past few years, I had never done anything worthy of real regret.
I am not talking about sin, and big mistakes involving things of that nature. But I am talking about big life decisions that I have made and have come to utterly, completely, and painfully regret. A powerful, overwhelming feeling of regret that has kept me up at night.  Regret that has left me feeling lost and confused.  Regret that makes me feel angry at myself, and others.  Regret that has left me crying till my eyes can't cry anymore. Regret that has at times, made me bitter.  Regret that had me asking
 "BUT  W H A T  I F..."
or saying  "I F  O N L Y   I   H A D/H A D N' T..."
 or  "I   W I S H   I   N E V E R..."
But the regret has taught me something-NOT to regret. No matter how many times you go over scenarios in your head, you cannot change the past.  The absolute best thing you can do is to say"oops, my bad"
 pray- trusting that Heavenly Father knows what is best for you
 and MOVE ON
Go forward with what you have learned and try not to make the same mistakes twice.  Make the most of the situations at hand.  Forgive where forgiveness is needed, and this includes forgiving YOURSELF. As Timone and Pumbaa would say "You gotta put your past behind ya." Know that wherever you have ended up now, you are never starting over from scratch, you are starting anew with additional experience, learning, and understanding. 
I know that I have made some REALLY horrible decisions that have cost me dearly-
(i.e. loving a boy for years who did NOT deserve me, who never treated me right, and took me for granted, and tore my beating heart out of my chest..but that's a different story for a different post)
but I KNOW that I have fought hard to become this woman I am today because of these things.  I know that the Lord has loved me through everything, and I have  grown to love Him so much more through everything. And that who I am today, standing here, newly 26, is a completely different and BETTER woman because of my choices and my experiences. And if my 26 year old self passed my 20 year old self on the street, I still don't know for sure what I would say to her,  if I would tell her to
 "RUN AS FAST AS SHE CAN the other way from that boy", or to 
"go to that college after all", or to
"love yourself NOW."
Or maybe I would say nothing at all, and just give her a knowing, reassuring smile because now I KNOW she will be ok. That even though I know the choices she is making will cause her serious regret and heartache, she will one day be me, the 26 year old woman 
who values herself and her time
who is working on bettering and loving herself daily
who doesn't accept less than what she deserves
who knows that she is a daughter of God, and deserves people in her life who sees and treat her as such
a woman who doesn't settle and is freaking ROCKIN' it making her dreams come true, even if they took a regret or ten along the way...