Anyone who knows my husband personally knows he has a heart of gold and cringes at the thought of turning down an opportunity to love and serve others. Bradley and I were friends for almost 2 years before we began dating. I remember watching him emulate Christ’s ability to serve others in our church ward. I was not the only one who noticed his desire to serve others; people were always talking about his Christ like demeanor and I would often hear people talk about the “light” that he seemed to have upon him. While we were dating, I told Brad that he had a light about him. He humbly replied with thanks and went on to say that others have also told him this. 

Christ is often called “the light of the world.”I believe the “light” Bradley possesses comes from his desire and ability to serve God’s children and be more Christ like. So Essentially Brad’s light is the light of Christ, which I think is pretty cool!

So how can each of us get this same light? We find a ray of hope in Matthew 5:14; when Jesus is preaching the Sermon on the Mount he says, “Ye are the light of the world.” Here we have Christ telling us that WE are the light of the world, meaning this light is available to everyone. I believe we all can obtain the light of Christ by following in His footsteps through serving others. 

During the holidays we see dazzling lights span across our cities, buildings, parks and homes. This holiday season, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put out an initiative to “LIGHT the WORLD,” which I interpret as filling the people of the world with the light of Christ. The #LIGHTtheWORLD initiative is inviting everyone around the world to participate in at least one act of service for 25 days. It starts on National Service Day, December 1st, and goes until Christmas Day!

I would like to share the Light the World and 25 days of service initiative to all my friends and family and invite you to do it with us. Bradley and I started our own#LIGHTtheWORLD 25 day experience by watching a 2 minute inspirational video on Christ that showed ways He served people during His life. Next, we printed a blank calendar from the web. Finally, we brainstormed service ideas for the 25 days and wrote them into our calendar. You can also get daily service ideas from this link:

https://www.mormon.org/christmas/in-25-ways-over-25-days

We hope our friends and family will become inspired by those they know who radiate the light of Christ and by Christ himself and act on this invitation. I know it will make the world a more peaceful and loving place.  

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This past weekend we drove to LA to meet Brad’s parents and sister for a big dinner at his dad’s colleague’s house!

Brad and I decided to stay the night in LA so we could explore before going to a friendsgiving at my good friend Jackie’s house! We are so grateful for the good friends that hosted these amazing dinners for us this weekend!

 

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Way cool flower wall

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Not much water in these canal today

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My heart!!

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I loved these broom looking plants

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Silly hubby

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Touring the Venice Beach canals was like exploring a museum; there are really cool houses!

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Super cool Tetris wall in Santa Monica

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My cute sister in law Taylor and her girl friends!

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. . . . Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

 I recently had a hard trial that left me feeling down and sorry for myself- I did not get my dream job. I was devastated to say the least and the weeks to come were filled with moments of tears, confusion, and a lot of self doubt. I was annoyed and started wondering why things came so easily to others and why I was in a low place with a trial I worked so hard to avoid. 

 During this time, I had humbling moment that changed my perspective on trials. I was listening to a podcast that told the story of a talented 18 year old horseback rider who had an accident which left her paralyzed. At the end of the story she said the number one question that gets asked of her is, “what if you could go back to that day and change it so you never got paralyzed, would you do it?” I was blown away when she responded that she would not change a thing about that day. She explained how the following 10 years of experiences and lessons taught her to look at the big picture and believe in God’s plan instead of her own plan. In the midst of my trial, I stopped and thought about the lessons I had learned over the previous 2 weeks. I realized I had learned some important and powerful lessons from this trial and, despite the pain I had felt, I was actually grateful for it. 

 My next thought was, “now how do I get to a place where I accept my trials before they happen, so when they do happen, I see them as a learning opportunity instead of trying to fight and pray them away?”.

 I think our perspective is key. On one hand, a trial could be an ugly monster blocking you and ruining your life plans. Or, a trial could be an ugly monster that is teaching you a lesson so the next time you have the knowledge and ability to get around him easier. I decided to change the way I think about trials and to see them as learning experiences. After pondering this more, I realized that trials are actually gifts from God because without them we would never progress. Additionally, when we accept a trial before it happens, as on opportunity to progress, we are putting ourselves in a position where Heavenly Father can teach us so much more from that trial. I think this is really neat- if trials are inevitable, we might as well learn as much as we can from them.

Another example that can help us be grateful for a trial is to remember that trials are like homework: inevitable, not fun or easy, but worth it when we get good grades and see how much we improve academically. When I was a child, I learned so much more when I set time in advance to do my homework because I accepted that it was the time for me to learn. Again, like homework, trials are not fun or easy, and they are an inevitable part of life, but they are worth it, when (with the right perspective) we see the big picture and our knowledge and testimony of God’s plan increases. 

My perspective on trails changed after listening to the story of this 18 year old girl. I know that Heavenly father gives us trials because they will make his stronger and help keep us on the path He has planned for us.  In this month of gratitude, I would like to invite everyone to think about whatever trial you are going through and make a list of the lessons you have learned from it so far. When you start to feel overwhelmed by your trial, go back to your list, and add more lessons and focus on the opportunity this trial has given to you! This perspective has helped bring me a lot of happiness and I know it can bring happiness and peace to you too.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!   

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too many funs things to do in laguna beach

My mama was in Orange County yesterday, which means we had to find something fun to do together! Luckily, Laguna Beach has some terrific adventures to offer. Some of my favorites:

  • Victoria’s Beach- with crystal clear blue ocean tide pools
  • 1,000 steps and beach- this is a family favorite; it feels like you have your own tropical private beach
  • Montage Resort Laguna Beach– they have amazing views, food, gardens and beaches. It is a pretty penny to stay the night, but you can visit during the day to explore resort for free 🙂
  • Surf and Sand Resort and restaurant- really cute hotel on the water! They have amazing views and the downstairs restaurant is basically on the sand. After we finish eating, we always take off our shoes and walk along the beach… because it is literally right there 🙂
  • Rooftop– Is on… you guessed it, the rooftop of  La Casa del Camino hotel. It overlooks the ocean and the vibe is amazing. They have the tastiest appetizers and really good virgin pina coladas.
  • Banzai Bowls- they have delicious refreshing acai bowls!
  • The hidden lighthouse- we got to it through the beach entrance of the Montage. You have to walk around a half mile to get to it, but it’s totally worth it!
  • Top of the World Laguna trails! Amazing 360 views of ocean and valley!!

We had the best time. I love these little surprise trips. She was here to help her best friend (and my second mom), Debbie Mitchell with a jewelry show for her company Twisted Silver– which is the most stunning jewelry, if you ask me!

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Top of the World Laguna!

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Story of my life…. my mother’s hair blowing across my face in every photo lol

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Montage Laguna Beach

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Montage Laguna Beach

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I have the most beautiful Mama!!!

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Leg goals!! hahah

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Surprisingly the water was not even the slightest bit cold, like really, I am a baby when it comes to cold water and I didn’t even think twice about it… and it was not even cold getting out!!

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Question of the day: “Are you guys sisters or twins?”

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No clue what I’m doing hahahaha

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Favorite picture of all time hahahahhah

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Is this not the coolest???

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My mama and Debbie!!

 

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Bradley and I went to Chicago for a school visit! Brad is applying for graduate school for next fall, so we will see where we end up! 🙂

We both love Chicago. Brad served his mission there, so naturally he is infatuated with the city and the people there. My Grandma Williams was born and raised in Chicago, so I have heard wonderful stories of the city since I was very young. So we both really love it there!

We happened to fly in the day the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series. It was also right before Halloween, so the city was extra energetic. It was great! I had a day in the city alone while Brad was on campus and I had the best time exploring.

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Still craving Shake Shack!!

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The Bean!

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If you want to get a photo at the bean with no one in it go early! This was at 7:30 am 🙂

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Hyde Park

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University of Chicago

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Art Institute of Chicago- Note the Cubs hat haha

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Here is a Monet!! Monet is one of my favorite painters and The Art Institute of Chicago has a whole room full of only Monet’s paintings! I was in heaven!

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Sears (Willis) Tower Sky Deck!!

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Rothko!!!

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More Monet!

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