Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Last One...

Right now I'm sitting in the living room of my new apartment with one of my best friends sitting in my eye line at the table putting a bouquet together, I have my cousin sitting next to me on the couch and another girlfriend sitting across from me. We are all talking about the fact that I, Julia Sanders, am getting married tomorrow.
When I started this blog it was to tell all the stories I've experienced in my dating life because it was just so laughable. I started this blog with so many stories already in mind and acquired so many more throughout the last 4 years.
I started this blog at 26 always thinking, "I'll probably get married in the next year or so."
Throughout my dating life, I was always told... "one day..."
"One day someone will come around and change everything..."
"One day it will be different"
"One day it will be worth it"
"One day you'll find someone who appreciates you"
"One day... one day... one day"
I learned to despise those words. Ironically, before I loathed them, I wrote a song with those words being the main theme.
"They say hold on, just be strong, your day will come
They tell me that
One day, it will be better
One day, it will be time
Someone will heal all your heartache
Someone will finally find you"
October 4th was that one day. October 4th I met the guy that would change everything. One day, everything was different.
Tomorrow that one day will change my life.
People keep telling me that I am oddly calm, disturblingly so. All I can say is the girl that has been writing this blog all this time, is finding it really difficult to believe that this day has come.
This will be my last post on this blog. This is my single life blog and tomorrow I will be Julia Halls and will have to share my blonde moments and ridiculous stories that I acquire as a wife. I have no doubt there will be plenty.
It's bittersweet to close this chapter of my life. It's been a good ride, but I'm so excited to start a new one.
I wrote a song that I'll sing for Matt at our luncheon tomorrow. I'm quite certain he won't read this blog prior to that so I'll put the lyrics here.

They said one day my love would come
I've waited to see that through
Looking at you I realize
That I have been waiting for you

I've wondered my life how he would be
The one who would love me true
So many years have shown me, my dear
That I have been waiting for you

Each time my heart would break again
I'd pray that you were near
I couldn't have hoped for anything more
My Love, you're finally here

So take my hand and never let go
I'm giving my heart to you
All of our lives I'll never forget
That I had been waiting for you.
I've been waiting for you!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I can hardly contain my excitement for tomorrow. Tomorrow I get to go home for, 2 bridal showers and a party with some friends, A meeting with the reception center, getting my bridals taken, a baby blessing AND my niece's birthday party.

Home... The place where my family is. The place where I grew up. The place such a big part of me still lives.

When I moved to Arizona and for about the first 10 months I was here, oh how I longed for home. I wasn't happy here, I was making the best of a situation that I knew was right. I missed having people, I missed being with my family, I missed knowing where everything is and the stinkin number system for addresses that is so much easier than having to memorize street names. I never went longer than 2 months without going home, and almost as soon as I got back to AZ I was planning my next trip out there. Arizona was very temporary in my mind.

Then I met a boy and fell in love. Tomorrow I head home and realized it's been nearly 4 months since I've been home. That is the longest I have ever been away from home. Even when I lived in Hawaii I wasn't gone this long. Of course I miss my family, but that longing to go home has been replaced with contentment in being here. That sadness and lack of understanding as to why I am here has been replaced with love and complete humility to realize this really was all divine intervention.

I'm sad to realize that my trips home will become fewer and farther between, but kind of relieved to know that it's because I am happier here now. I have found someone to fill such a huge void. One person makes being away from all of that, worth it. It's amazing the difference one person can make, and it's even more amazing how it can all just be there all of the sudden. All of a sudden I'm not thinking about "home" all the time, but instead thinking about what our future here will hold. All of a sudden I realize I'm not sad anymore, but instead incredibly happy. All of a sudden, Arizona is becoming my home.

There is a song that perfectly explains what I feel Matt's roll in this is. Home, by Phillip Phillips...

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
You get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Half way there...

Today is the half way point in mine and Matt's engagement. We got engaged, 2 months ago tomorrow and get married in two months from today.
Have Done:
Wedding dress, bought
Matt's suit, bought
Engagements, taken
Venue, booked
Invitations, ordered
Guest List, finalized (after much stress)
Honeymoon, booked

To do:
Dress is being hemmed
Matt needs a tie
Bridals (in Utah)
Pick a photographer
Pick food for luncheon
Hair and makeup trial runs
Send invites
Get wedding license

It's crazy to think that 2 months has already passed since we got engaged, but at the same time having 2 months left seems like forever. I keep telling Matt, "think of it this way, when we first started talking about getting married we said March, and at that point 2 months seemed SO SOON!" It doesn't matter it still feels like it's never going to come. It doesn't help that if we got married when we originally said, we would have gotten married last week. I tell Matt though, if we would have stayed with March I would have been a bridezilla the whole time. I don't do well with stress and I'm sorry to say I don't hide it well. I needed the extra time!

We finalized the guest list last night and that was my biggest point of frustration. I am a people pleaser and I hate the idea of people being offended or having hurt feelings if they can't come or aren't invited. I hope everyone would understand that it's simply a matter of space and that if I could I would want everyone there. The idea of hurting someone's feelings is just too hard for me to handle. Last night we figured out a list that we both felt good about and that I think will make the most people happy. Once that was settled it was like this HUGE weight was taken off my shoulders and the rest of the time I can just enjoy everything.
We were talking with Matt's parents last night about how the day is going to go and I just got so excited.
With the stress of the guest list behind us I just want to say how grateful I am to have so many people that want to share this day with us. We are so lucky to have so many people that love us. There are worse problems to have, that's for sure. I have been so touched at the things that people have said to me, whether it be in person, or text message or even Facebook message. People that I rarely talk to have told me how excited and happy they are for me. A number of people have told me that seeing this happen for me has given them hope. This experience has been so humbling and I feel so honored to be at the receiving end of so much love.
My cup runneth over with amazing people and now I'm adding a whole world of people into my life. I hardly feel worthy. Matt's friends and family have been so wonderful and I am so excited to have them as my own.
2 months from today I will be Matt's wife. I will be a daughter-in-law. I will be the sister-in-law to 16 people and a new aunt to 29 (and a half) people.
2 months from today. 61 days.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I suck at keeping secrets

So, not that it would surprise anyone. I decided that I was going to write a song for Matt to sing at our wedding luncheon. I wanted it to be a surprise.
I was nervous because I had never written a song without my friend Jaycie (aka co-member of Friends of Spencer [good times]). It was kind of a big deal to me and I didn't want it to sound all juvenile, but I'm in Arizona and she's in Utah so it wasn't the easiest thing to do together.
The week after we got engaged I sat down, I had an idea in mind for the theme of the song and I just started plucking at my guitar trying to figure out a melody.
I ended up getting the song written in about an hour. That's the thing I love about songwriting, when I have an idea in mind, it just flows.
I was so excited to have this surprise for him. I was doing a really good job of keeping it a secret, even though I do feel like most people, Matt included, would expect that from me.
The other night we were together and reading through my journal about our relationship, which was really cool, I'm so glad I wrote that stuff down. I got to his birthday and was reading about the things that I did for him. Then this came out of my mouth, "I also wrote him a so... DANG IT!" and man oh man did he ever laugh.
I was so mad/sad. He still hasn't heard the song, so at least that will be a surprise, but I'm so bummed that he knows about it, even though he told me he suspected that I'd write one.
So there you go, I suck at keeping secrets.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A whole decade of possibilities.

For those people who follow me on Facebook, they know that I have been dreading turning 30.
I could not believe I my 20's were ending. I went to dinner with The Man and our friends Ben and Breann on Saturday and we were all being so childish. Shooting straw wrappers at each other, lauching gum wrappers in the air and what not, and Breann says, "Hard to believe we're all in our 20's" and I thought, that was only true for 4 more days!
All day on Tuesday I kept thinking, "I can't believe this is my last day in my twenties..."
Wednesday I wake up, all 30 and stuff. The day itself was no different than any other. I went to work and, outside of the Facebook notifications every 2-3 seconds and the random texts and calls, it was your pretty standard day. That night I met up with The Man he gave me a beautiful watch and we went to dinner, grabbed some To Go dessert from The OG and went back to his house and watched Lost. Honestly it was a great night, I loved the simplicity of it all.
While we were at dinner I had kind of an epiphone. I realized how excited I was to be 30. How excited I was that I was so so happy to just be with this wonderful man, who I love and who loves me so much, for my birthday. That is what made it a great night.
I told him how excited I was for this new decade. I feel like a chapter in my life has closed and a new one has begun. The last chapter was definitely enough to keep me interested in this book and to want to keep reading, but I know the next chapter is going to be so much more full. I feel like the best part of my life is starting.
I told Matt I have felt for a long time that for me my 20's was a time to figure things out, figure me out, and my 30's was going to be when everything started to come together. I had that thought initially when I was like 27 and I think I've been subconsciously looking forward to that ever since. Now that I'm here I can't even express how excited I am to be starting this next chapter.
This is the chapter that I become a wife and a mother. This is the chapter that all the rest of my life has trained me for.
I've had a number of friends turn 30 before me and a lot of them told me, "It feels no different than 29" but I can say with some confidence, 30 feels completely different than 29. My entire 20's was single life. Parties, vacations, living where I wanted, and moving from place to place. Right up until the last day. My 30's from day one will be family and settling down and learning how to be a good wife and mother.
Being at the end of one decade I can't help but see how it got to where I am today and be so grateful for the experiences I've had. Being at the beginning of a new decade I can't help but look to the future and all the amazing things this next 10 years have in store for me.
As much as I dreaded turning 30, I gotta say, I'm pretty dang happy now that I'm here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

One year down, the rest of my life to go...

One year ago today I left Utah for Arizona. I didn't know how long I'd be here. I didn't know why I was going. I didn't know what to expect.
I did know it would take a while for me to be happy. I did know, being the introvert I am, it would take a while for me to get to know people. I did know I would miss my family, friends and music buddies terribly.
I moved to Arizona because I had the strong feeling that Arizona was where I was supposed to be. I took the biggest leap of faith of my life and packed up nearly everything I owned, anything I could fit into my car and moved away from my life.
One year ago today I went to my nephew's baby blessing, and then said goodbye to everything I loved to step into an unknown future.
In the last year, I have been to California a few times, Las Vegas, Oklahoma, Lake Powell, Utah (several times) New Hampshire, Maine and Massachussetts. I have met hundreds of new people, I beat my PR at the Spudman Tri, my half marathon time. Although I haven't been able to sing nearly as much as I'd like I was still able to sing the national anthem for the Diamondbacks.
Best of all and I'm certain my purpose in moving here is, I met and got engaged to the most wonderful man.
All that being said, it has been an amazing year.
When I moved here I told everyone, including myself, that it was a temporary thing. "It'll probably be like a year, and then I'll be home" I think even then, I knew that wasn't true.
I always planned to end up in Utah. I was going to live by my family forever, I would stay in Utah forever. It's so strange to think that this year was the first year of the rest of my life.
I'm still transitioning in my head that Arizona will be "home" to me one day. Arizona will be the life my kids know. It's a strange feeling.
I can't help but think about where we will be in 5, 10... 20 years. I can't help but wonder what it will feel like to feel like Arizona is home. I can't help but think about the time when we have a community here that we can't imagine leaving. That's what I left in Utah and I know I'll have that again.
I'm so excited to have that with Matt. I'm so excited to think about where this adventure is going to take us. I'm so excited to start an entirely new life with him. I'm so excited to have him to share these new experiences with.
As heartbroken as I am to be away from the life I knew in Utah, I am just as excited, if not moreso, to start my new life with Matt. Makes waiting for our wedding that much more difficult.

A cake my co-worker made for me on my last day in the office.

Kelly and I moved the same weekend. This was at our combined farewell party.

The stairwell I got locked in, alone, the first time I decided to branch out, be brave and go to a social event.

Moore, Oklahoma. Memorial Weekend.

Getting ready to sing for the D-Backs.

Surfing in New Hampshire.

After the Spudman with the parentals.

After the Big Cottonwood Half Marathon.

After Jace's baptism.

Trapeze lessons.

My rowing crew "Strokes of Genius"

Me and the man, pumpkin carving date.

Color me Rad 5k with my friend Sayward.

Matt's graduation celebration in California.

My future.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What was I thinking?

*Disclaimer this post has nothing to do with my current life*

I remembered something yesterday that I haven't thought about in years and it made me think, "What was I thinking???"
When I was a little kid, my best friend lived about a mile away. I used to walk to her house all the time.
One winter day I was walking to her house. I was walking up the hill on Eastdell and I thought, "I wonder if anyone would stop if I just laid here on the ground." So I laid down. Guys, I'm like 8 years old, it's winter, middle of the day and I laid down on the sidewalk on a relatively busy street. If you were to see that what you would do? I, as an adult, would FREAK OUT!!! I just laid there... on the sidewalk, and after a couple of minutes, OF COURSE a car pulls over and a man opens his door. I got scared (duh) and popped right up and just kept walking up the hill as though nothing happened.
I didn't talk to the man, didn't even look at him, and from what I can remember he didn't say anything to me either.
I think about that now and I just laugh at how silly it is and what he must have been thinking.
So there you go, I am, and always have been, a weirdo.
(Side note, thank heaven nothing happened to me, in the world today the idea of an 8 year old little girl being alone is abhorrant.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wedding Dress Shopping

5 years ago my parents were about to move to Malaysia for three years. I was devastated with the thought of, "What if I get married while they are gone. Of course they will come home for my wedding, but they will barely know the guy, and who is going to take me wedding dress shopping?" It was literally my biggest fear at the time. 2 years ago they moved home and a year after that I was all, "Welcome home, I'm peace'in out to Arizona." 7 months later I met the man I am now going to marry.
My mom has met him twice my dad once. The fear that I had when they moved away was realized in the past month.
Here is the thing. I didn't take into account in-laws.
The first time I went wedding dress shopping, Matt's sister-in-law Aubri came with me. She watched me try on some dresses and helped me pick my favorite one.
I ended up having to order a different one and it arrived last week. I texted Aubri on Sunday and asked if she wanted to come with me again to try it on. She graciously agreed and told me Matt's sister Heather wanted to come as well.
I met them at noon yesterday, while we waited for them to find my dress they both started looking at other dresses and picking some out for me to try on "just for fun". Matt and I are both the youngest in our families and in both of our families it has been 8-10 years since there was a wedding. They were so excited to dress me up. Heather asked me if I would be willing to try one on if she found one. I thought, "When am I ever going to get to do this again, of course I will."
She found me a dress and I went into the dressing room to try it on. When I came out, she had about 4 more, and Aubri had found some too. The complicated part was they brought out dresses I didn't see before and I had a heck of a time deciding if I wanted to switch or not. We spent about 2 hours with me trying on dresses and veils and head pieces. It was so fun!
I won't go into detail, but I just want to say, mainly for my mom and my sister, these girls made that day so special. Though nothing could replace doing that with my mom and my sister, I still had family there. They made me feel so beautiful and, well, bridal. They went above and beyond.
I don't know if I can ever fully express to them how much that meant to me.
I am marrying into such an amazing family and I could not be happier about that. I have told Matt and other several times, if I can't be close to my family I am so lucky to be close to them.
I'm still a little heartbroken at the stuff I have to do long distance with my family, but my future in-laws are sure making it easier on me.

Here's a little teaser.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Being in love is less funny than dating.

So, when I started this blog it was mainly to show people how ridiculous my dating life was. The crazy situations I've been in, and the stories I have to tell. It was hilarious and I loved sharing that. Now I'm all in love and getting married and, it turns out, that is way less funny.
So now I have a blog of telling you how awesome my life is, how amazing my fiancé is, and how lucky I am :)
This weekend was so wonderful. This was literally the first time in my life that I have had a Valentine, and to have that Valentine be my fiancé was so much fun. I was so looking forward to this weekend with him.
Friday night I got home from work and there was a bouquet of flowers (gorgeous roses and lilies) with a card and a little jewelry box which held some beautiful earrings. I felt so spoiled. Matt is doing a good job of blinging me out. I had told him that I needed time after work to get some things ready so he wasn't at the apartment when I got home, just dropped the stuff off for me to find.He came over around 6:30 and I gave him his present, a little box with goldfish crackers (his favorite) and Ghirardelli chocolates (dark chocolate and caramel with sea salt [my favorite ;)]) and a card. Inside the card I had 5 cards, each with one word. "You", "Me", "Sunday", "9:00am" and then the last one had two stick figures hanging from parachutes. I was taking him skydiving! I found a groupon for two and that was the only time this weekend that we could go. It was so fun watching him read the cards one by one, and then get to that one and just gasp and smile huge and say, "Are you serious???" he was pretty nervous, I could tell, but he was also very excited.
Then we drove to Fountain Hills for dinner. We had 8:30 reservations, but he wanted to make a stop at 8. He drove me to the main park in Fountain Hills where they have this big pond with a fountain in the middle. It goes off every hour on the hour for about 15 minutes. We got there about ten minutes early and just walked around in the dark for a little bit. at 8:00 the fountain started and it was so beautiful, right as I was saying, "It's so HIGH!" It shot up and doubled in size. It was so majestic to watch, like watching fire or waves. We just sat there, holding each other and watching the fountain. Super romantic. I loved that you'd look around and there were all these couples having their own romantic night.
When the fountain stopped we went to this really nice Italian Restaurant Sapori D'italia, which was featured on Food Network's "Restaurant Impossible" they did good work because it was delicious and the ambiance was perfect. While at dinner we talked about why we loved each other so much, and about how we got to where we are. It was so romantic and perfect. Then we just came back to my apartment and watched a movie. It was such a great night and I just felt so lucky all night to be the girl sitting in my chair.
Saturday we caught an early movie, Monuments Men, walked around the mall for a while, went to dinner and then met up with some of our friends, Ben and Breann made cookies and chatted.
Sunday I picked Matt up at about 8 am to go skydiving. Here is the thing, I have been twice. The idea of me going doesn't freak me out at all. I wasn't in the least bit nervous about me jumping, but I was TERRIFIED about Matt going. I kept thinking of the worst possible scenarios, him dying, him being paralyzed and knowing forever that it was my idea. I even said to him a couple of times, "If you don't want to I can return it for a full refund" but he wanted to, so I sucked it up, but my gosh I was terrified.
We got to Skydive Phoenix and watched our little video, got suited up and went on our way. While we were ascending our instructors had GoPro's and would interview us throughout, anytime they'd ask Matt how he felt, he'd hesitate a bit and say, "I'm good!" but I knew he was preeeeettttty nervous. I wanted him to jump first so I could see him go, so he went ahead of me and just had the biggest smile on his face. He jumped and then I jumped. Being that it was my third time I was able to take a lot more in, I swear the first time is a total blur, the second time wasn't much different, but this time was AMAZING. The freefall was freezing but once he pulled the shoot I was giggling like a fool. The view was awesome and it was just so much fun. I looked over and saw Matt floating, it was such a relief to at least see that his shoot didn't malfunction. We were a little bit lower so we landed first, but I was glad because that meant I got to watch him jump and land. He came down and was just smiling from ear to ear. Landed safely (phew!) and came and gave me the biggest hug and kiss. Said it was the best Valentine's gift ever! I was pretty proud. I'm glad we went, but he is never allowed to do that again. I can't handle that kind of anxiety!
That evening we met some friends in the desert, had a fire and grilled some meat. Threw a ball and a Frisbee around and just hung out. It was the perfect end to our weekend.
I can say without doubt that this was the best Valentine's Day I have ever experienced, and am looking forward to improving on them each year. I love love, even if it is less funny ;)
My Valentine's Day Loot

The Earrings close up

Our skydiving prizes. We got video and pictures but they have to mail them to us.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Engagement, love/hate relationship!

I have been a fiancée for 16 days now and I have some thoughts.
When we first started talking about getting married we talked about doing it in March, my whole family was coming down to Arizona already so it would have been convenient to get hitched while they were all here. This was beginning of January and I freaked out, 2 months was NOT ENOUGH TIME! So we decided to change it to May, my family changed their vacation to be then instead of March and we got crackin.
I didn't anticipate that I STILL wouldn't be working, so basically I have a lot of time on my hands. So I've been planning.
I have my dress, we got our engagements taken, we have a location, caterer, decorator and DJ, I ordered our cake, we have someone to design our invitations, we registered, we have booked the temple, we've booked our honeymoon and that is all the Arizona stuff, we have Utah stuff well under way as well (thanks to my amazing mom and sister). Matt and I went and looked at apartments on Saturday and I think we found the one. What I'm getting at is, we TOTALLY could have pulled off March!
Now we have all the big stuff well under way, if not done, and we still have 3 and a half months!
We have this annoying count down happening that is not changing fast enough.
So now, we are just this engaged couple. Engaged, not dating, not married, engaged. We know we're going to be husband and wife, but we're not yet. We know where we are going to live, but we can't move in. We are just waiting, and the only reason we are waiting was so we could plan a wedding that is practically planned, so we wait.
People keep telling me to enjoy this time, people that have done this before and they wanted to just get married too so they didn't enjoy the time like they "should have" so they tell others to just enjoy the time. I don't think it's possible.
Depressing, we have over 100 days until we are married. Depressing, we have about 14 weeks. Depressing, even though we dated for a short amount of time it seems like we've been dating a long time (twice as long as my longest relationship prior to Matt so for me it's SUPER long) we have about as long left in our engagement as the entire length of our relationship to this point. DEPRESSING.
I realize I haven't mentioned any of the "love" part of this love/hate relationship. I guess I'll end on that. I love knowing that I have my guy. I am falling in love with him more and more every day. I love planning this wedding and imagining it all. I am so excited for everything that is coming up in the near future. I love that I still have it all to look forward to.
I love the fact that I am engaged because it means I'm getting married! Me! I am getting married. Didn't see that comin.

Friday, January 24, 2014

One of those girls.

As mentioned in my last post I'm one of those girls with a ring on her finger now, but now I'm another kind of girl too, the kind that brags about the man that loves her.

As a single girl I would get so annoyed when I'd read posts or stati about how wonderful my friend's and family's husbands/boyfriends are and I always wondered how it would feel to have someone that you wanted to have forever. I had never had that before, someone that I could actually imagine wanting to be with FOREVER!

The other day I was thinking about this man I'm going to marry, I was thinking about how supportive he is of me. He is already starting to make sacrifices for me, for our lives together, for my happiness. He has already taken this role of husband, caretaker, breadwinner... happymaker? (That's got to be a thing, he's doin it) I'm realizing how hard it is for me to rely on someone financially and things. I'm not working right now and it's terrifying, I feel like I'm not pulling my weight. He hasn't had to jump in for anything yet, but he is willing to, for us. It's hard for me to be ok with that, I feel like I'm being a burden, I'm a financial burden and my pride is taking a big hit, but not only is he willing to help me when needed, it's like he's morphed into this "head of the house" role where he is taking care of his family and I just feel, so completely lucky that I get him. He does what he can to make this frustrating time for me, easier.

When I talk about him, or think about how I'd describe him, I honestly feel like I'm bragging. I have a man who... I never thought someone would love me the way he does, and I know it's just the beginning. I love the idea that no matter what happens from here on out, I have a partner, my life is no longer my own. No matter where my life goes from here, I'll have someone going with me. The feeling that gives me is literally something I've never known before. It's so peaceful, so comforting and so SO exciting.

They tell you, as a single adult, that when it happens it will be worth all the wait, it will heal what damage has been done.
I was a skeptic, big time, I was a cynic in regards to love. I'm so grateful that even though I didn't believe it would find me, it found me anyway.
I have a feeling this is just the beginning of my bragging posts about this man of mine. As annoying as I know that will be to others, I'm so happy and relieved to be "one of those girls."

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Story

I'm not the kind of girl that has been planning her wedding since she was a little girl. I am, however, the kind of girl that has wondered my whole life what "my story" will be. The story that I'll tell for the rest of my life. The story of how I met my husband, and how we got engaged. I LOVE my story, and here it is.

About a year ago (almost exactly) I was on a single's cruise. It was the last day of the cruise and I remember walking along the beach with my good friend Jon and telling him, "You know, it's weird, everyone is talking about how they are ready to go home, but I'm not... I feel like I need to leave Utah." This was something I had NEVER considered ever in my life. I always wanted to stay in Utah. I continued and said, "I feel like I should move to Arizona, and more specifically Mesa."
We talked about it for a while, it was pretty drastic and he made the expected remarks, "Are you sure you're not just really frustrated with Utah? Are you sure you need to make that big of a change?" but something inside me kept pushing me.
I got home on a Monday and on Tuesday I got together with my parents and told them how I was feeling. By then, the feeling had gotten even stronger. My mom asked similar questions as Jon, "What about your work, what about your music, what about your family? Do you really think moving will make that big of a difference?" To that I just said, "When have you ever ever heard me say anything about wanting to leave Utah? That alone should tell you, this is not just me coming up with an idea. I really strongly feel like I'm being guided there." To that my dad said, "You need to go! One thing I have always told you kids is that if you get a prompting from Heavenly Father, you follow it!"
I told them I was still praying about it and that I was going to go to the temple, but a big part of my decision would be based on if I could even get a job or a place to live.
Within one week I had both, and the decision was made.
I knew it was going to be really difficult. I didn't know a soul in Mesa, and it takes me a good long while to get to know people. I was leaving a job I loved, a music group I had been with for 4.5 years and loved, my whole family and everyone I knew. I was literally leaving everything I knew and loved behind, but I just knew I had to.
I moved to Meza, AZ March 4th. My dad drove down with me and helped me get settled in. The next day, my birthday, I took him to the airport at about noon, and then I was alone.
The first 5 months I was here were so hard. I missed my family, I missed my friends, I missed having people that knew me. I hated my job, I did not like the ward I was in. I felt so completely alone.
I'd think about moving home, but I just knew I still needed to be here. People in my life kept telling me, "maybe you'll meet 'the one' there" but I would not let myself think that way. I knew I moved here for a reason and I knew it had to be pretty big, but I couldn't let myself believe that was it.
In August I moved into a new apartment and ward, and I remember telling my roommate, "I feel like the first 5 months I was here was just to prepare me for the rest of the time. Get my footing, meet friends, but I feel like now things are going to start coming together."
On September 30, 2013 I went to a stake talent show. While I was there I looked over in the audience and saw a guy. I thought he was really cute and he was looking back at me. We made eye contact for a good 3 seconds (which is crazy long if you think about it) it was intentional, but being the introvert I am, I knew I wasn't going to talk to him (part of why I even dared stare that long). I left that night thinking I'd probably never see him again.
That Friday, October 4, my friend Ashley invited me and a few others to go see Austenland. I was sitting down next to her and these two guys walked in, he sat next to me, but I didn't realize it was him. He started talking to Ashley (who was on the other side of me) and she was asking him about all these girls he's been dating. I just kept my mouth shut. The movie started and here and there he would make little comments to me and we'd chuckle throughout.
As we were walking out he asked me what stake I was in. I told him I was in the Tempe stake, and he goes, "Did you sing in the talent show?" Right then I realized who he was and was IMMEDIATELY so embarrassed. "Does he remember making eye contact? Does he remember that I like STARED AT HIM?" I just laughed and said, "Um... yeah... I did." Then we talked for a while.
I had a feeling he wanted to get my number but I didn't want him to in front of everyone. I knew if he really wanted it he could get if from Ashley so I abruptly said, "K Bye!" and walked away.
The next day he got my number, the day after that he invited me over for a game night. Two days after that was our first date, two days after that our second. Since then we have seen each other nearly every day.
The road to realizing I was in love with him was an interesting one. I say realizing because looking back I think it happened really early on for me, but this is the first time I've ever really been in love so I didn't realize it. I can say that pretty early on I would picture us together as husband and wife, and not once did I ever have any reservations about that. I remember talking to my dad one day early in the relationship and he asked me if there were any red flags, and I said, "Honestly... no!" and that was literally the first time I ever felt that way about a guy I was dating. We did Thanksgiving with his family and I introduced them to a game that made one of the little kids cry (my bad) and I jokingly said, "Oh man, this is a story that is going to be told forever" To which Matt's 14 year old nephew looked at me and said, "Forever huh?" and I just winked at him, but in my head I thought, "Yeah... probably" but still at that point I was debating in my head if what I was feeling was love.
I had been so jaded in relationships, so burned that I had been trained to question everything.
However, there was one huge difference with Matt than with any other guy. I knew he was in. I knew he loved me. For the first time in my life I had 100% confidence in how the guy felt about me, and honestly I can tell you, if I didn't have that security, I would have ruined it. I would have over-analyzed us both out of that relationship.
Before I continue I just want to give a shout out to the people who had to hear me vent, time and time again! Namely, Xan Baker, Michelle Ross, Michelle Lundberg, Lauren Tuft and of course my sister Jennie. What wonderful friends and family I have to just listen to me being crazy and not make me feel like a complete psycho.
December 8th, it was our two month mark (since our first date) and I was talking to my bishop. He asked me point blank if I loved him. I panicked and said, "Gosh, I don't know... it's only been two months. I've never loved anyone before." He said, "Sure you have, you love your family right?" I said, "Of course I do, and yeah, as a human I do love him, but I don't think that's what you're asking me." He said again, "Do you love him?" I said, "I don't know! It's so early, I need more time..." He basically said, "I think you do know."
That night I was so frustrated, I called both my sister and my cousin Michelle and just vented like crazy. They both told me, I didn't have to know yet, Jennie didn't know she loved her husband for like 6 months. They both assured me I could take more time.
That week I spent talking to friends and getting advice. I realized my idea of what it meant to love someone was coming out of the chick flicks... The best advice I got from people was this, "Saying I love you is like bearing your testimony, the more you do it the more it grows." One friend said, she didn't realize how much she loved her boyfriend UNTIL she said it to him.
Then I realized again, the idea of marrying him and being his wife, felt so natural to me, exciting to me. I realized that I was more afraid of saying "I love you" than I was of being his forever, that's when I realized I did love him!
That weekend we went to California to celebrate his graduating from college. It was the most perfect weekend. Riding bikes, walking on the beach, we were totally in love, just hadn't said it yet.
We were going to Utah a week later for Christmas and I figured we'd probably say it then.
Tuesday, December 17th, he dropped me off at my house. I went upstairs and was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy (don't judge) and there was a line said, "When you love someone, you say it loud and let them hear you say it." and I thought, "WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?" All of the sudden I wanted to tell him right away, I didn't want to wait any longer, the idea of waiting until Christmas was silly to me if we loved each other already. I contemplated driving to his house to tell him, but figured I'd wait until the next day.
The next day we saw Anchorman 2, not exactly the movie you want to precede saying I love you for the first time. That Friday, December 21st, we were driving back from our friend's house and I knew it was the night. We were sitting in his car and I was just trying to get up the courage. Matt is someone who regularly asks me what I'm thinking, because typically if I'm not talking, something is usually wrong. (I'm a talker) I just kept thinking, "I wish he'd ask me right now, I won't have the courage to say it otherwise" Like clockwork he said, "What are you thinking about?" I froze, I just looked at him. He turned the music down, faced me and said, "What's going on?" I said, quietly, "Um... I think I might love you a little bit." I looked up at him and he smiled and said, "A little bit?" I smiled and nodded and he said, "It's ok, I love you too!" I was choked up at hearing him say it, and from that moment on, we couldn't say it enough.
The next week he came home with me for Christmas and met everyone in my life that I could squeeze in in that time. Poor guy was a champ, but that couldn't have been fun for him. They all loved him.
We started talking about getting married almost as soon as we said "I love you". When we got home from Utah plans were in motion. For a minute we talked about getting married in March, but that stressed me out big time so we pushed it back to May. I had sent him some ideas for rings and gave him my dad's number, just in case ;)
Then it was just a waiting game. We went to the Gilbert Temple Open House a week ago today. Matt works for Okland Construction (who built the temple) so he was invited to go to an early walk through, before it was opened to the public. We went with his parents and I walked through thinking, "This is our temple, this is where we'll get married" I made sure to check out the sealing rooms and the bride's room.
Every day I wondered if "this would be the day Matt's going to propose" I had a feeling it would be during the weekend which made it the LONGEST WEEK EVER! But every day I had to look extra cute, just in case. I gave him two requirements for the proposal: First, it had to be photographed; Second, it had to be before I turned 30 in March.
Matt has a friend that is a photographer and she is trying to break into the wedding market. She was having a deal that she would shoot engagement pictures for free in the month of January, and Matt suggested we book her for Saturday the 18th. I said, "NO! We can't get engagement pictures when we're not engaged!" Then I thought, "Gasp... what if he does it then?" So I said, "Um.. yeah... ok we can do that."
All week long I was just waiting for the weekend to come. He was doing a pretty good job of making me feel like it wasn't going to happen, frustrating me to all get out. Friday night I went to his house (extra cute) and couldn't help but notice that he looked really nice, "Maybe this is the night!" There was a moment in the night when I realized it for sure wasn't going to happen, and I was kinda sad.
The next day I called my parents, by now I was thinking it really wasn't going to happen. I told my mom and dad (and my journal) "I keep having to tell myself not to be SO PISSED if he doesn't do it this weekend."(Little did I know, Matt called my dad the night before, my parents were totally in the know, but didn't let on) The idea of waiting another week, or however long was killing me, and he knew it (and loved it) We got together for the photoshoot and I was in a mood. We'd pose and the photographer would make a comment and I'd say, "yeah... too bad we're not engaged..." She'd say, "Oh look how you just naturally put your hand up." To which I'd respond, "If only there was a ring..." At one point I said to Matt, "You just need to freaking ask me!" I was not sly.
About half way through the photo shoot, she was taking a picture with me in the foreground and Matt in the background, both of us facing her so I couldn't see him behind me. She snapped a couple of shots and then said, "Matt I don't like what you're doing back there, change your stance up." I could see his shadow on the ground next to me and I saw it kneel down. Ultimate blonde moment here, it didn't even occur to me what he was doing I just thought, "Oh that's a good idea, good pose, Babe." Then the photographer said, "K Julia turn around" So I turned around and he was there holding the ring. For a split second I thought it was just a pose, and then it hit me and I just gasped and clapped my hands over my mouth and just stood there... for a while. I waited for him to say something not realizing I was still standing about 10 feet away from him. Finally he said, "Come here..." So I walked over, and very simply he said, "Julia, Will you marry me?" I said, "Yes" got down on my knees and hugged and kissed him while the photographer circled us taking pictures. I had completely stopped thinking he would do it then so it caught me by complete surprise. After a minute or two I just shouted, "THANK YOU FOR ASKING ME!!!" and we continued with the photoshoot.
I love our story. I love my ring. I love Matt so much and cannot wait to be his wife.
One year ago, almost exactly, I felt like I needed to move to Arizona, it was more powerful than any feeling I'd ever had, knowing it must be something big. Today, I am engaged. I truly thought this day would never come, and it's still hard for me to wrap my head around it. I'm one of those girls... I'm one of those girls that has a ring on her finger. I'm one of those girls that has a man that is unconditionally in love with her.
I am so grateful to know without doubt that Heavenly Father brought us together. So grateful that I was prompted to move here and SO happy I followed that prompting. I'm getting married. I have my story.

One of our first pictures as a couple

Halloween Party

Thanksgiving Bag Game (the game that made his nephew cry [he face-planted trying to pick it up])

Hiking in Sedona, Thanksgiving weekend

Driving to California to celebrate his graduation

Huntington Beach

Christmas Lights at the Mesa Temple.

Gingerbread house making party (we took third)

In Utah for Christmas... really cold.


My Love. My Heart.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 A Year In Review

Every year I like to look back and reflect on all that happened. This year was a doozy.
January- Went on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean with my cousin Michelle (and about 250 other LDS singles)

February- Made the decision to move to Arizona. Never in my life had I ever even considered leaving Utah, and within about a week I had the idea to move to AZ, found a place to live, a job and a move out date.
Saying goodbye to my niece Giada

Kelly and I moved the same weekend. I made these for us.

Jaycie and I did a farewell concert the weekend before I moved.

One last shot of my beautiful Utah mountains. I hate the cold but man it's pretty.

March- Drove down to Arizona with my poppa. Turned 29 all my by lonesome. Tucson for my cousin's wedding (caught my 13th bouquet). Vegas with friends. LA for Easter with friends.

April- Lost my beautiful Aunt Tami to breast cancer, but got to spend a good weekend with family celebrating her life.

May-Went to Oklahoma to help with the tornado relief. Such a humbling experience to be there and feel a part of that community for such a small time. An experience I'll never forget.

June-Went home for Father's Day and to celebrate Mom's 60th. No photographic evidence.

July- Sang the National Anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Went to Lake Powell for the 4th.Went to New Hampshire, Boston and Maine. Completed my second Spudman Triathlon, beating my time by 20 minutes.

August- Moved to a new apartment.
September- Completed my third half marathon, beat my PR by 10 minutes. Joined a rowing team.

October- Went home to see my nephew Jace get baptized. Met a dude that I like a whole lot. Competed in my first rowing race, and took a trapeze class. LOVED IT.

Conference weekend will take a lot out of you.

November- National Anthem for the National walk for Autism. Color me Rad 5k with my friend Sayward. Music video shoot with my rowing crew... Can be seen here. First Thanksgiving away from my family, but with a new one that... I like a whole lot ;). Went to Sedona for my first time and hiked around with a certain someone.

December- Matt's graduation celebration in Huntington Beach, stayed with the glorious Kelly Miller. Christmas with my family. Last day working for my company that I've been with since April 09.

I thought it was a really hard year for me, what with moving and everything, but looking back I realize, man it has been a great year. Ups and downs that rival a roller coaster, but in the end, a great year.