Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Today I turn thirty.

I hate saying that. I really do. Thirty-years-old. Ehhhh--I know it’s not “old”. I know that. In the scheme of things it’s just a number. People say that their thirties are some of the best years of their lives. And the celebs are saying forty is the new thirty must be the new twenty right? So cheers to twenty.

I can’t even talk about it around our house. My husband is older than me so he just scoffs and pulls out the tiny violins everytime I so much as mention the arrival of this dreaded day.

When I was a kid, pretty much any age in the “twenties” sounded pretty cool. Twenty-something, twenty-anything was still sexy and hip. But thirty-something...that was just ancient.

But alas, time’s a thief and here I am. T-H-I-R-T-Y.

And to be honest, I feel thirty. If you would have asked me two...three years ago if I felt twenty-seven or twenty-eight I would have laughed and told you I felt like I was still eighteen and just playing a super realistic game of make-believe. But no, these last couple years have me feeling nice and aged...and not like in a fine wine or cheese kind of way. a wrinkly applehead doll. Did you ever make those in grade school? They’re super gross and creepy but I remember making two different ones in fourth or fifth grade. You basically let an apple dry out and then use it as a head for a homemade doll (anyone in need of a gross Halloween craft--check it out!)

What once was a sweet delicious apple---now a dried up shriveled doll head. That’s me--applehead Kris. Thirty, flirty, and thriving.

My twenties---definitely the decade of the most change in my life. I think about where I was when I was just twenty and it’s almost too much--I’m not sure whether to laugh or to cry or to just turn on some Friends reruns to numb the awkward feelings.

For starters--my early twenties--I had absolutely no idea what I was doing with my life or who I really was. Yes, I had dreams, plans, goals, and ambitions...but I was also at the end of the day I was mainly just living in and for the moment. Living for the night. Living for the next experience. Just so curious and eager to gobble up life in feast and famine. I had strong opinions and a lot to say. I was selfish and narrow minded, eager and complicated, but I did learn a few things...I may not have realized them right in that moment but over the years I’ve come to understand that with every experience, every moment of pain and heartache, and with every turn--right or wrong--came a moment of truth and an opportunity to learn something.

I haven’t written in a while—like a long while—but I figured what better occasion to jot down a few lessons than the day I celebrate thirty years of life. Sooooo here ya go. A few lessons from the last decade of my life.

I think I felt true heartbreak at twenty-one. It hurt—a lot—but with it I learned that sometimes in life you have to choose whether to walk away or try harder...and sometimes you may make the wrong choice. Sometimes you stick around for just a bit too long hoping that this time around it’ll suddenly work out. Learning to say goodbye—gracefully— is a necessary part of life. And is something I have never been good at. I don’t regret much about my thirty years. I don’t regret an experience or a person that didn’t work out...because they all helped make me into the human I am today. What I regret is not letting go when I should have--I regret the wasted time.

Part of life is learning when it’s time to let go and move on.

At twenty-three, I did just that. I let go and moved on. I left behind the world I knew to start fresh. I took off to a new city--leaving behind pieces of me that I hoped would be just be lost forever to those lovely Wasatch Mountains. Leaving behind parts of the person I had become--the one that I honestly hoped to never see again. Praying that the west coast would be my saving grace.

Let go, breathe in and take a step forward. You never know what magic awaits you. I think this was the first time since I was a kid that I truly *lived* life. Waking up with an open heart and an open mind--with a desire to learn and grown. To not only accept people for who they are but to love unconditionally. It was then that I finally stopped worrying about every little thing (I’m an obsessive planner and worry about everything) and just embraced that moment of time. I’d have deep conversations with strangers, cab drivers and people on the Bart. I’d sit by the pier and listen to my own breath...inhale and exhale...consciously feeling my chest rise and let down.

Within my first couple weeks living there, I sat down with a new friend. She asked what my story was. I told her about loving big and falling short. Being broken. Searching for healing. The advice she then proceeded to give me changed my life. She told me that she had a similar experience--and that in order to truly fall in love again you had to accept that you’d never fill that hole--at least not in the exact way it was once filled. Because you won’t find another person exactly like the last. But what you can do is open your heart and mind….be willing to fall in love with the new...and not expect the old. I don’t know why it took me so long to process this--but there it was. Bam.

One week later I was introduced to the man who is now my husband.

“One new perception, one fresh thought, one act of surrender, one change of heart, one leap of faith, can change your life forever.” --Robert Holden

Twenty-five. The year of possibly the most soul-searching and intense change in my life. The year I entered the world of motherhood. I always kinda assumed mothering would just come natural to me (ha!) I mean, that’s what they always say--that those maternal instincts will just kinda kick in and it’ll work out like a well planned Pinterest board, right? While for some that might be true, it was not so much the case for me. Being a mom has taken me to the lowest of lows, highest of highs and just about every stop in between. It destroyed me mentally,  physically and emotionally. Basically broke me down into just tiny bits and pieces and then said--okay, now put yourself back together again---while a baby screams in your face! Funnnn! Oh, Motherhood. It’ll humble you...again and again. It will make you question everything about yourself. In my case, took me into the dark corners of my closet in tears as I battled through postpartum anxiety...which then led me into the arms of a loving friend who helped me realize it was all going to be okay and that I wasn’t a total freak. Yes, it’s really really hard. But I promise, it’s worth the pain and worth the struggle and worth the craziness. Worth every damn second of it.

My kids are not just my kids give me life. They are the reason I fight for the things I believe in--the reason I want to make the world a better place.

Twenty-eight. Became a mom for the second time. I learned a lot this year, but the lesson that stands out is actually not about motherhood--but about people in general. A little over one year ago our city of Houston was aggressively hit by the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey.  It destroyed homes and took many lives. One afternoon--in the middle of the rains and floods--I watched my husband trek out into the road (now looking more like a river) to try and make it to a neighbors house to help them move some of their precious belongings to their second floor because the water was now at their front door step. Those few days were difficult, but what changed my life was what happened after the flood waters receded.

I watched as a city ripped to shreds by a natural disaster came together in love and unity in a way that I had never before witnessed. Our church volunteered for days, weeks, and months mucking houses. Once we could finally get out of our neighborhood, my husband went to help a coworker in a nearby area that had flooded badly. After helping muck one house he decided to walk down the road and see if others needed help. He felt moved to knock on the door of a home that seemed to be empty--but was surprised when a man who looked scared and overwhelmed answered. My husband asked if he needed help, and the man began to cry...telling him that he had just been on his knees praying and pleading for help when he heard a knock at the door.

Hurricane Harvey reminded me--in a time when hate and controversy and bullying seemed to dominate the news cycles--that God is good, people are good and love can conquer all.


This year was a good one. And to be honest, nothing too life-changing would have stood out if it hadn’t been for the past month and a half.

Six weeks ago I had one of the most world jolting experiences of my life when I was rushed from an urgent care facility to an airtight room of the infectious disease wing of a hospital after being diagnosed with Meningitis—a rare virus that infects the brain. There are multiple types of meningitis and my tests had come back inconclusive. Because it could potentially be life threatening and very contagious, they kept me in the hospital for a few days until they knew exactly what it was.

I don’t really want to go into all the details--but I know I was incredibly blessed and looked after during a very scary few days and through a very lengthy ongoing recovery. I’ve felt an abundance of love from family, friends and people I don’t even know. Seriously I have the best family, the best friends and the best support system--you guys know who you are and I'll never be able to repay you for all you have done for me and my family. I'm so lucky to have you all.

But back up to those few frightening days--starting with that ambulance ride to the hospital. It was the first moment I really processed that this was much more serious than just a bad migraine and a high fever. Realizing that my brain was infected and there was a small chance my time on this earth could end abruptly, had me in all sorts of panic. And folks, this may be the most important lesson in all my thirty years. I sincerely think God saved this one for the last month of my twenty-ninth year because he knew exactly when I would need this powerful wake up call.

In that scary moment of realization--as I processed the seriousness of the situation--I can tell you that the thoughts going through my mind were not about material things, my busy schedule, the big wrinkle on my forehead or the people that had offended or wronged me. I wasn’t thinking about the many insignificant and worthless things I had allowed myself to stress and wallow over. Nope, none of that mattered. There were just three things going through my mind...

First, my beautiful kids. I wanted to hug them. I wanted to kiss them. I wanted another chance to just sit and cuddle them in my arms. I wanted one more morning to make them breakfast and to drive my daughter to school. I wanted another chance to rock Bron back to sleep in the early hours of the morning after he had awoken from a bad dream. I desperately wanted them to know how much I love them. I prayed and prayed that no matter what happened that they would know that. Never again will I take those simple perfect moments with my children for granted.

Second, my sweet husband. He sat there next to me reassuring me everything would be okay--but there were moments even in my drugged up state that I could sense the fear he was trying to hide from me. I didn't want to lose him--and desperately wanted to take back every rude or snappy comment I had ever made. Every fight or argument suddenly seemed embarrassing and adolescent. I just wanted to tell him that I was sorry, and prayed he would know how much I love him and our children. I saw this quote recently and while I haven't read the book, I thought these words were just so incredibly beautiful:

“He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.”— Sherman Alexie, The Toughest Indian In The World

How incredible is that?

It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by President Thomas S. Monson, "Choose your love, love your choice."

Here's the thing...falling in love, getting married, and having kids isn't some magical formula for continued love and happiness. It's a choice. And once we make that choice, we need to love it--through all the good and all the bad. It's a conscious effort. A choice that we need to make every day.

The third and final thing I thought about in that hospital bed was my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ.

You may not be religious or come from the same religious background as me--and that's totally okay. Because what this boils down to is what kind of life did I live? I found myself wondering if I tried my hardest and continually worked at becoming a better version of myself. Did I love and serve others? Was I selfless and kind? Was I a good human?

Did I live a life I was proud of? And more importantly to me--could I stand before my Savior tomorrow and feel proud of the work I did here on earth? Did I show my God that I love Him?

Shortly after coming home from the hospital I came across this talk from a past General Conference held by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it had such a profound impact on me. I highly recommend reading it, whether or not your are a member of our church--if you are familiar with the Bible you will be familiar with the story of Peter that is referenced, and this is one of my favorite excerpts from it:

“What I need....are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world." (

That massive wake up call was actually the perfect way to end my twenty-ninth year...and left me feeling so loved and moved and motivated to become a better wife, mom, and human being.'s to thirty! I can't wait to see what the next ten years will bring!