1 year down; 1 year to go!

Pinch me, because I MUST be dreaming. Sweet Hunter has been out for a whole YEAR?
I get to see him in less than 365 days? 
Now, you might be thinking, "Dang, you still have 365 days to go and you are so positive?"
Why yes, yes I am. Want to know why?
This past year FLEW by. Seriously. I can't even believe it.
It feels like I blinked and he left, I blinked again and he's halfway through his mission.
Yes, it's been difficult to adjust without having my best friend here, and yes, I miss him every day, but I have definitely seen how love can grow despite over 6,000 miles of distance. 

Hunter is my very best friend, and no amount of time apart will ever change that.
He's still as cute as ever and as sweet as ever and I am still so in love with that boy!
Even more than when he left a year ago. {I didn't even know that was possible...}
But with each passing day, each P-Day email, and each sweet handwritten letter, I fall more and more for that cute missionary.

Over the past year, I honestly feel like I have grown and changed a lot this year, in all the best ways possible. I've finally found out how to be happy, even though sometimes {okay more like all the time} it feels like I have a vacant spot in my life that was meant for Hunter's sweet presence. 

In less than a year, that man will be back by my side, and he will never have to leave. Ahh what a joyous moment that will be! It's crazy to think that there will be a time where we won't have to think about him leaving. Throughout our entire friendship/relationship, we've always had to keep in mind that he had to go on a mission. In less than a year, that mission will be done, and he will be home for good! 

Anyways, not to get ahead of myself. I am so excited for Hunter to be home, but I also know we have a whole year to go. A whole year to learn, change, and grow some more. A whole year for Hunter to serve with his whole entire perfect heart. 

My failed attempt at a cake!

Okay, I am totally getting side tracked. {I can't help but get carried away when it comes to that cutie!} The point of this post is to actually share 12 things I've learned in the past 12 months:

1) Ice cream should seriously be classified as a drug. It is completely addicting and terrible for my body, but I love it and eat it anyways! {Multiple times a week by the way...}

2) It's super important to cherish every day. Life is such a precious gift, and wishing that time would go faster is no way to live. Even though sometimes I really do wish I could create a time machine and fast forward to the future, I really have seen how important it is to live life! 

3) School is a lot easier when you have time to study. Sacrificing good grades to work is NOT worth it. For the first time in my life, I got a C and a D because I was working well over 40 hours a week on top of over 15 credit hours. I didn't have time to sleep, or study, I was cranky and moody, and I didn't do well. Now I have to retake a class, and I'm behind on my track. If you feel like you are working too much, WORK LESS. Seriously. 

4) I've learned that you need to take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, try to sleep for at least 7.5 hours a night, eat regularly, and just ENJOY life. Don't spread yourself too thin or try to juggle too much; something's gotta give, don't let that be your health! {Yes, I realize that's too many cliches in one sentence...}

5) Love > Distance. There isn't a truer statement. If 12 months ago you would've told me I would love Hunter more than I already did, I wouldn't have believed you. But yet, here I am, still crazy about the cute boy I fell for at age 16. He is well over 6,000 miles away and I only hear from him once a week, but man, I am crazy about that sweet missionary.

6) Trust your instincts. I learned the hard way that trust is a fragile thing and that people come and go. If something doesn't feel right, don't do it. If you aren't happy, change it up.

7) Laugh. Laugh a lot. Laugh until you cry. Laugh until it hurts to breathe. Laugh until you have to run to the bathroom so you don't pee yourself. {It's pretty great!}

8) Let people know that you care about them. The first couple months of Hunter being gone were rough. I felt alone, sad, and upset most of the time. Sweet text messages, girls nights, and good conversation made it so much easier to deal with. I truly believe the Lord puts people in your life for a reason. The constant support I get means so much to me. Hold the door open for the person behind you, pay it forward, or send a text to someone you haven't spoken to in a while. It makes a difference, I promise.

9) Set a goal, and make a plan. I've learned that goals are extremely important, but what's even more important is making a plan to reach those goals. Be realistic, but aim high. Figure out a game plan and GO.

10) Have faith. Have faith. Have faith. Whatever you believe, believe it wholeheartedly. For me, that means trusting in our Heavenly Father. I KNOW that he is mindful of each and every one of us. He knows us, loves us, and wants us to be happy. Life is hard, but it's supposed to be. Each trial we face, only helps us grow. I've learned to have faith in myself, have faith in others, and have faith in my Heavenly Father.

11) Count your blessings. Be grateful for the food you do have, the roof over your head, and the wonderful people around you. It's so easy to get caught up in "I want..." and "I need..." but the true blessing is in "I have..." Hunter describes the people down in Brazil as humble and happy. He always says they have so little, but are grateful for so much. That's definitely the way I want to live!

12) Grow. Grow. GROW. Look back at the past year of your life. Have you grown? Have you learned? Have you changed? If the answer is yes, good for you! If the answer is no, it's time to change things up. Don't be afraid to take chances. Some of my favorite memories of this past year are times when I got outside of my comfort zone! I met new people, experienced new things, and I honestly do feel like I've grown. Grow, learn, and grow some more!  

Anyways, these are just 12 of the many lessons I've learned over the past 365 days! I hope something in this post can help out any of you girls who are just starting your journey :) If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know! I've got a ton of international mail tips, package idea, sappy love songs, etc.

Have a wonderfully happy day everyone. Thanks for reading! 

{E&H}- Part 1

Part 1: Mystery Man
It all started when I was sixteen years old and a junior in high school.  I was in 5th hour environmental science, a class I didn't really want to take in the first place. (Science was never my strongest subject). A friend told me that there was a really cute, blonde, senior in her 4th hour class. She told me that I should switch into her class. In my head I was thinking ," Hmm, a class with a cute blonde boy AND a class with one of my closest friends? Uhm DUH!" So I switched into 4th hour and this is where the story begins...

I immediately thought he was cute. For the first week or so, I didn't even manage to get a look at his face, but his profile was quite adorable. He sat on the right side of the room, a few rows in front of me. He was a tall (over 6 ft.), blonde, baseball player. Three strikes, and I'm out. I knew he was just going to be some dumb jock, who played girls and never took anything seriously. (Obviously, I was being extremely judgmental.) I knew I had zero chance with him though. He was WAYY out of my league, and I knew it. Still, it didn't stop be from wanting to get to know him. I remember my friend calling "dibs" on Hunter, and I remember saying, "Uhm no way. I call dibs! He's going to be mine!" Looking back, it's funny to me that I would even say that. I definitely have never been a girl that talked to a lot of boys. I had one boyfriend prior to meeting Hunter, and my flirting skills were kind of terrible. I was not confident, up front, or the girl other boys chased after. I was just me. 

Despite my inability to be like all the other cute, confident, and flirty girls, I still really wanted to get to know Hunter. He was just so mysterious! What was he like? Is he nice? Is he smart? How many girls has he dated? What is his family like? What does he like to eat? Why is he so quiet? Does he have a girlfriend? I found myself thinking about that boy wayy too often. I wanted to know all the answers to my questions, but most of all, I wanted to know him. At that point, I knew that I had fallen for someone I never even talked to. I knew that this was just the beginning of a crazy, massive crush.

I began hoping that he would talk to me. I started to fantasize about that first conversation. In class, I found myself glancing at the back of his ridiculously cute head. What was wrong with me? I don't even know the kid and I couldn't find enough courage to even talk to him. Basically, I was a hopeless cause. It's a good thing the hopelessness didn't last forever though. About a week later, we did our first activity in AP Environmental Science, and I finally got to talk to that sweet mystery man...


Jumping for Joy

AHH! Words can't even express my happiness level right now!
I am just super excited and happy and full of joy!
 I am so blessed!

Last semester was the worst semester of my life.
That's not even an over-exaggeration.
It was awful. I got a C and a D...
I was unhappy, tired, and stressed, but this semester is SO much better.
I can't even believe it!
So far, I've gotten a 97% on my statistics test, 97% on my geography quiz,  94% on my speech for my public speaking class, 90% on my geography test, and an 84% on my accounting test.
What an amazing improvement from last semester!
I definitely have been able to focus a lot more this semester.
I cut back my work schedule like 5 hours a week, and I think it's made such a different.
I am also taking an institute class, and that seriously lifts my spirits.
50 minutes of true happiness and joy every Tuesday & Thursday.
I am so blessed.

Also, I haven't been getting very many letters from Hunter.
Brazil's mail system is awful and everything comes super late.
The last letter I received was from December 30th, but this week I got THREE.
Ahh I literally feel like I am walking on sunshine!
I love that boy more and more with each passing day.
His year mark is in less than a week... WHAT?!
We are as in love as ever &
I am so blessed.

I am overjoyed, and feeling extremely grateful for all of the wonderful blessings in my life.
I know none of this would be possible without my loving Savior.
It has been such a wonderful week full of so many tender mercies and so much love.
 Keep working hard, keep having faith, and keeping pressing forward!
It will pay off. 

Just remember,

Now I am going to finish up some homework, clean my room, and continue jumping for joy.
{Literally, guys. I can't stop jumping!}



Oh goodness!
I am so lucky to have this boy in my life.
He is seriously THE best. 
I don't know what I did to deserve him,
But I love him more than simple words can ever explain. 


My Valentine

This cutie will always and forever be my Valentine.
Over 6,000 miles away and he still melts my heart.

I fail as a girlfriend and haven't sent out his Valentine's Day/One year package yet.
Luckily, the sweetest girl alive helped me out.
Her name is Dara and she lives in Brazil.
She added me on Facebook a few months ago and I absolutely ADORE her.
She sends me pictures here and there of Hunter and it makes my day!
Dara ended up buying a rose for Hunter and printing out a picture of me so he had something on Valentine's Day!

She sent me a ton of pictures of Hunt's happy face and my day was definitely made.
Just knowing he is out there smiling makes it all worth it.

{I am so grateful for technology, and wonderfully sweet people.}

Truth be told, Valentine's Day was definitely one of the hardest days since Hunt has been gone. But the great thing is this might be our ONLY Valentine's Day spent apart.
Hunter will have to start school right after he gets home, and currently his release date is the end of Janaury! WOOO! A whole month early? I'll take it.

Here are a few pictures from our previous Valentine's Day adventures.

Valentine's Day 2012

Valentine's Day 2013

I just LOVE that a whole day is dedicated to love.
I love spoiling Hunter and seeing the surprised look on his face.
I love making red velvet pancakes together.
I love how terrible Hunter is at keeping surprises from me...
{I almost ALWAYS know what I'm getting/where we're going.}
I love our homemade cards that we make for each other.
I love the cheese, crackers, and apple cider we drink.
Most of all, I just love him,

Even though I didn't get to be with/see/talk to Hunter this Valentine's Day, 
it definitely doesn't change the fact that he is always and forever my Valentine.

Happy Valentine's Day cutie!
I promise I will send your package soon...


Be Mine/1 Year Package

Is it seriously already February? I swear yesterday was December 1st...
Time has been flying lately.
It's insanely awesome/incredibly scary all at the same time!

Anyways, I am SUPER excited about Hunter's Valentine's Day/ 1 Year Package!
Long Nights. Lots of Writing. Messy Room. Paper Cuts. Sticky Hands... 
But definitely worth it knowing that he will be smiling when he get's it!

 This is sweet Hunter when he got the Christmas package I sent him!
I'd do anything for that darling smile:)

{Seriously, the face of an angel...}

Like my Christmas package, I wanted to incorporate scripture-ish type stuff with it. 
He is a missionary after all;)

This is the finished box! I decorated the edges with this BEAUTIFUL silver sparkly tape I found in the Target dollar section. It's so pretty! I am very sad that I've gone to 3 different Target's and none of them had that tape. Lesson learned: STOCK UP.

Here are some of the things I put inside of it:
{Please note that some of the scriptures are EXTREMELY far-fetched/kind of don't make sense. But hey, I tried.}

1) Pens

{Missionaries can never have too many pens, right?}

Scripture: Isaiah 30:8
Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever.

2) Socks

{Hunter just LOVES sock. And he goes through them like crazy. I think I've only seen him wear socks without holes in them like twice...}

Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:9
He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness...

3) Snacks

{Hunter's only request since Christmas has been these crackers... He's so silly!}

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:31
 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

4) Will you be my ValenTIEne?

{Totally thought of that on my own!}

5) 12 Letters of Love

{This was probably the most time consuming part. I pre-wrote 12 letters for Hunter to open throughout the next 12 months. They are only about a page long, but I tried to make them very sincere and special, and even ATTEMPTED to draw little pictures and what not.}

Here are the list of letters I wrote:

Open when...
 -You receive this package
-It's Valentine's Day
-You need a good laugh
-You need a spiritual lift
-You want a bedtime story
-You've hit your year mark
-You are having a rough time with your companion
-You are having a bad day
-You are feeling sick
-You need some love
-You are missing me
-You feel alone

6) 14 things I love about you

{I found this cute little mailbox in Target's dollar section! I wrote 14 things I love about Hunter on paper hearts and put them inside. There were a lot more than 14 so I had to be selective.}

7) A card with pictures inside

{Hunter and I have always made our cards for each other. They are a lot more special to us, and we both know that nobody else has a card like it! Please note how darling that silver sparkly tape is.}


P.S. For some reason I was having an off day and forgot how to smile...

8) Book of Mormon

{This is my favorite part of this package! Over the past year I've been reading and marking up some of MY favorite scriptures in yellow highlighter. I'm sending Hunter the same copy of the BOM but with an orange highlighter so he can mark HIS favorite scriptures. It'll be awesome to see what stood out to us when he gets back in a year!}

Attached to the front is a cute printable I found about Valentine's Day.

Here's the finished package with everything inside of it!

I love the cute boy and I hope he loves this package!
If there are an MG's reading this, please feel free to use/modify/add to any of these ideas.

P.S. Only 10 days until Valentine's Day & 23 days until Hunter's year mark!