To my previous love interests.

A few nights ago, Tanner and I *finally* opened our wedding presents. Naturally, a bunch of cards were in the mix. As we went through the gifts and cards, I was struck by the amount of love being poured out to us through the kind words being said in the little cards we received.

The evening was a good one, and as things began winding down and the last few gifts were opened, I noticed an envelope addressed specifically to me. I took it out of the pile quietly, and read it to myself. It was from a young man I had had a crush on all throughout my high school years, and rather than wishing me and my new husband congratulations on our marriage, it was an apology letter. It expressed regret for any amorous advances made towards me, and any subsequent confusion it may have caused.

As I thought about the strange note, my first reaction was to laugh. Obviously I had moved on! Did he think that, perhaps, my Tanner was an extreme form of a rebound? Did he think I was emotionally scarred by holding hands with him occasionally over the course of 4 years? Why did he feel the need to bring it up over a year later, at my wedding? 

I don’t know that I’ll ever get answers to these questions, but now I don’t think it’s as funny as I did initially. Rather, I feel sad for him and that he feels those years were a waste of time. Had I the opportunity to go back to high school and change anything, I wouldn’t. Because those years were difficult at times, but wonderful nonetheless. Do you know why they were so wonderful? Because of him, and other boys that came into my life at one point or another and gave me a little taste of just how awesome romance can be.

Perhaps it’s just because I have always been a tad (read: very) boy-crazy, but I honestly think that having crushes and having those experiences have made me into a better person! I don’t regret anything I’ve done; instead, I’m grateful for the small romantic interludes I had every so often.

And so, I would like to write a little letter in response to that note- but rather than target that specific boy, I’m going to address this letter to all of my previous love interests over the years, because they really shaped who I am and influenced my choice of a husband.

Dear past crushes,

I would like to say, first and foremost, thank you.

Thank you for helping me grow into the woman that I am today. Couldn’t have done it without you!

Thank you for being brave enough to hold my hand the first time. It may seem small and inconsequential now, but at the time it made my heart pound, and I couldn’t sleep because of how happy it made me. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate even the simplest forms of physical affection, and to enjoy the feeling of someone’s hand in mine. It’s still one of the most comforting feelings, and you made me realize the beauty and security that holding hands fosters.

Thank you for the little notes and treats you gave me for my birthday, Valentine’s Day, and for no reason. I still have all of those sweet little treasures, and when I was younger I had a few of your letters almost memorized from reading them so much. Thank you for teaching me to enjoy the small, handmade gifts. They mean the most, and are so sincere. Please never stop writing notes to your future wife. She will appreciate them more than you know, and keep them for years to come.

Thank you for being so entertaining to talk to, because it taught me the importance of being able to talk to my future spouse, and the importance of being able to have deep, meaningful talks one moment, and silly, pointless banter the next. Communication is so important, and you helped me realize that.

Thank you for allowing me to imagine a future with you. Granted, you never knew it because I never talked about it to you, but I loved dreaming about our potential future together. I would imagine our story, how it would be different from everyone else’s, and how romantic it would be to tell our children how we met, holding hands and smiling as the old feelings came rushing back alongside those precious memories. I loved picturing the two of us growing old together, surrounded by grandchildren. I loved secretly trying out your last name (every girl does this, I’m not crazy), and quietly saying it out loud to see how it sounded.

Thank you for being so kind and caring with my little brothers, because it made me realize that having a man who was good with kids was a non-negotiable item on my mental checklist of marriageable qualities. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy watching a guy play with little kids? Yum.

Thank you for being my best friend, and doing random, crazy things with me. I knew that I would want to marry someone like that someday- someone I could laugh with, cry with, and go on completely random adventures with. Thank you for being the kind of person I could tell anything to, and thank you for never judging me for my feelings.

Thank you for breaking my heart, and for letting me experience the feeling of emptiness. As hard as it was, it built me up into a stronger person, and allowed me to appreciate the power of loving myself. It taught me to be independent, and showed me that my happiness did not rely on the approval of male counterparts.

Thank you for being a jerk. Thank you for texting other girls while you were on a date with me, and thank you for making me feel stupid by acting like my superior constantly. Thank you for being inconsiderate, because without your sour example, I wouldn’t have decided that I was worth someone’s full attention. I was worth being treated as an equal, and I was worth someone who would be KIND to me. Thank you for reminding me that settling never makes anyone happy.

Thank you for all the lessons you unknowingly taught me through the years. Without you, I would never have found someone who had all the qualities I both wanted and needed in a man. I don’t regret any of the experiences I’ve had over the years, because if I hadn’t had them, I wouldn’t appreciate Tanner for the true gem he is.

So never apologize for your past feelings. Even if we didn’t end up together, we had a good time, and we both learned a lot. I hope that you don’t feel bad for any feelings you had towards me, because I don’t regret having liked you. I am excited for the future you have ahead of you, and I pray that the woman you eventually make your wife will appreciate the man you have become because of those experiences.

Best of luck,

~Haeley

Flirting tips and tricks guaranteed to get you a man.

This has got to be my favorite. It’s fail-proof.

If you follow these tips and tricks, you’ll have yourself a man in no time at all!*

~Haeley

*these have not actually been tested. Results may vary.

A letter to my thirsty 16-year-old self.

Dear 16-year-old Haeley:

First off, happy birthday! If I haven’t told you yet, you’re beautiful. I know that sometimes you hate looking at yourself, but believe me. It’s true. And trust me, you’ll only get prettier from here! I mean, look at me now. I’m (we? You? Us?) a babe now. ;^)

Okay, okay. That’s not why I’m writing to you today. I have a purpose, I promise. You see, I just got off the phone with Geneal, our beautiful, precious sister (do you know how lucky you are to have a sister like her? Because she’s amazing. Never forget that), and she was telling me all about Homecoming and how great it was. Eventually, our conversation wandered off into where it usually goes: boys and relationships, and she brought up something I have been thinking about for a while.

She talked about how much of a relief it was to not have a boyfriend right now. You’ve told yourself time and again how glad you are that you don’t have a boyfriend, but you’ve never really believed it. Don’t try to deny it, sweetie. I know you want a boyfriend so badly you can taste it. The thing is, you’re in high school. You’re a sophomore, and I don’t care how mature you think you are, the thing is, you are so unbelievably young. You don’t even have your license yet! (Don’t panic. You’ll get it in March, and you will get terribly lost just a few days after receiving it. But your dad will call and help you find your way home. Aren’t dads just the best?) You haven’t experienced hardly anything in life. Why would you want a boyfriend right now?

I know how it feels to want to be loved. I’m still you, remember? I’m just a little bit older and (at least in my 18-year-old opinion) a little bit wiser than you are at this point. Our craving for someone to love and care for hasn’t changed; in fact I would go so far as to say it’s only gotten stronger. But that’s because I am finally at a point in my life where seeking male companionship is acceptable and okay.

Haeley, you’ve read For the Strength of Youth before. Countless times. You always flip to the Dating section, because you love reading about it. All your life you’ve looked forward to dating! And trust me, it is so much fun. Dating is one of my favorite things about life! But you need to be careful. I can’t stress it enough. Boyfriends are so great. They will make you feel on top of the world! At least, that’s what I’ve been told. At this point I’m still dating around. Don’t get too excited just yet. ;^) But just know that the prophets know exactly what they’re doing when they advise us to not only hold off on relationships until we’re out of high school, but to only go on group dates. TRUST THEM. Does it seem like a total buzzkill to have to wait to single date and have a boyfriend? Yep. Not gonna lie. But it’s so worth it to look back and not have any regrets. You have no idea.

Now, just because you’re not going to have a boyfriend in high school does not mean you’re going to escape without heartbreaks along the way. You will have your heart broken. And it will hurt more than you ever thought it could, and it will hurt for a very long time. But you will be better for it. Heartbreak sucks, but it’s such a good growing experience. Never say to yourself that the boy wasn’t worth it. Everybody is worthy of love, and even though it hurts, don’t stop giving it.

Love is always the answer, whether it involves boys or not. Never believe you weren’t worth it. You are worthy of love. And just because a boy hurts you doesn’t mean you’re worthless. Keep your head up and keep loving. You were given a heart that naturally wants to love. Don’t hold that back. Let everyone know you care about them, because this world needs more love.

And dances? Dances are every bit as fun as you think they’re going to be. Granted, there will be a few that will not be fun, and you will cry over them on more than one occasion, but the good ones will more than make up for them. Go all out! You’re a babe.

You’re worried about so many things. You’re worried about impressing boys, and being as attractive as possible to them. You’re worried nobody will ever ask you out. You’re worried your weight will act as a barrier between you and all potential crushes. You’re worried your hair needs to be a certain length, or your clothes need to hang a certain way, or your first kiss is going to be a total disaster.

Haeley, here’s the thing:

  • You will be asked out. A lot more than you think.
  • Who cares about your weight? You’re a bodacious babe. Beauty and personality will surpass any insecurities you have about your weight. 
  • Your hair does NOT need to be long for boys to like you. You will eventually cut off all of your hair and it will be the single most freeing thing you’ve ever done, and- spoiler alert- boys will still like you after that. 
  • Your clothes are FINE.
  • Your first kiss will be absolutely perfect.
Stop worrying so much about boys. Love your life! Embrace who YOU are, and what makes you so special. Your time will come. I’ll make sure to write you again when we find Mr. Right. ;^)
I love you! I hope you have a wonderful birthday.
Love, 
~Haeley

Why I Frickin’ Love the Single’s Ward.

Originally, this picture was going to have a purpose in my post. 
Now I just have it because it makes me laugh so hard. 
It’s a representation of me in the single’s ward, can’t you tell? I can just pick and choose whoever I want! (never mind that I can’t actually date James McAvoy, nor can I marry the Bollywood actor my hand is reaching for.)

Originally, this post was going to be about Growing Up and being in the strange limbo stage where I’m just barely out of high school and yet I’m now considered to be “on the market”.
Not that I’m planning on getting married soon, but a girl can dream, right?

Originally, this post was going to be a lot of things- the perfect blend of serious and funny. But I just couldn’t focus long enough to finish it! And so it has sat in my draft folder for two weeks, silently reminding me that I need to get my crap together and just WRITE.
In the end, what got me writing this post was the fact that I discovered I recently acquired a new follower (hi, Haley!), and how the heck am I supposed to acquire more followers and become a famous blogger if I NEVER POST?! So without further ado, I present:

Reasons why I frickin’ love my single’s ward.
  • Well, for starters, my bishop is AWESOME. He cracks me up, and has made sure I’ve felt welcomed into the ward- which is huge. I hate being ignored, so having someone make sure he remembers my name and some basic facts about me is huge. Thanks, bro. (or is it bish? No, that sounds bad. We’ll stick with bro.)
  • Relief society. In one of my previous posts, I wrote about how excited I was to begin relief society, and honestly, this ward has a wonderful program. Maybe it’s because we’re all more or less in the same stage of life, none of us have to run out of the room quietly because our baby suddenly decided to unleash a tidal wave of spit-up, or maybe it’s because we’re all really young. Either way, I just feel like I’m in Young Women’s 2.0, which is a preetty good way to begin relief society.
  • I have the mornings to myself. My ward starts at 1:00, and my family’s ward begins at 8:30, so I get to have the house to myself for a few hours each Sunday, which is nice. I have time to just enjoy the quiet house, and can prepare for the meeting without having to yell at someone because they’re taking too long in the bathroom and I need my toothbrush, or whatever else. I’ve also found myself singing hymns around the house while I get ready/veg in my pj’s because I don’t want to get dressed yet, and I like that. I don’t really like doing that in front of everyone, so having my own private concert is nice. ;^)
  • Since we are all so young, I feel like there is wayyy less judgement from my peers. I think we all have a silent, mutual understanding that these years are weird, and wonderful, and experimental, and we respect that. I feel like nobody is competing to show off how perfect their life is, or how cute their dress is, or how adorable their children are. We just… Are who we are. We wear what we want (within reason), we say what we want, and we don’t worry what anybody else thinks. We’re NOT perfect, and we’re not trying to convince people we are. I’ve never seen so many different hair colors in church before- purple, pink, and blue, namely- and you know what? It doesn’t matter. They are who they are and if pink hair expresses that, more power to them. I just think that in a family ward, the people who look different than your average, cookie-cutter churchgoing person are silently looked down upon, and separated into a category known as Those Mormons. You know, the ones who just don’t really fit the mold? But here, it doesn’t matter. We take you as you are, because we’re all young, and still learning. And you know what? Being different is AWESOME. I like not feeling like I haves droves of people to impress with my righteousness. I like knowing that I, along with my peers, am still learning how to get closer to my Savior. I’m not perfect. Neither are they. But together, we’re all connected in our beliefs. And looks don’t matter, after all. It’s what’s inside that counts. (can I get some props for totally sounding like a fortune cookie right there?)
  • I LOVE the activities! They’re so fun, and I love getting to know these people. 
  • Okay, fine. Yes, it’s nice to have so many good-looking boys in my ward. Yes, it’s wonderful and refreshing to have nothing but dateable young men in my ward. Yes, heavens yes, it is nice to have young men in the ward who know how to fit their suits…. Also, I didn’t know this before, but really awesome socks are a huge turn on. Does your ensemble have lackluster socks? Sorry, sweetie. Not happening. Give me the socks that straddle the line between whimsical and practical. (a weird attraction to have, no?)
I guess what I’m trying to say here is… The single’s ward is wonderful! It’s not a scary cult that forces you to marry. It is a gathering place where young adults come to get closer to their Savior. I’m so glad I decided to make the change. I have not regretted it once.
Man, I’m going to miss this ward when I go to college.
~Haeley

A post in which I justify my celebrity crush on Asa Butterfield.

Asa Butterfield. What an interesting, intriguing name, no? But just who is this mysterious human? You may remember him from the movie Hugo, in which he stars as Hugo himself.

I realize that in this movie, he looks approximately as mature as a 10-year old. I get that, okay? But that is not what began my crush, although his eyes are GORGEOUS. But you already knew I had a weakness for blue eyes. No, what finally sealed the deal with my tender little heartstrings was Ender’s Game.
He still doesn’t look super old/mature in this movie, and yet, I still began to feel something deep within for the skinny, blue-eyed wonder. I felt guilty and ashamed of these feelings, sure that he was only 12, but upon further investigation (and several Pinterest pins later), I discovered that Asa Butterfield was born April 1, 1997. Suddenly, my heart leapt. This could only mean one thing: THIS MAGNIFICENT CREATURE IS ONLY 16 YEARS OLD, THEREFORE I CAN STILL TOTALLY HAVE A CRUSH ON HIM AND NOT FEEL TOTALLY AWKWARD.Yes, I realize this makes me somewhat of a cougar, but I’ve come to terms with it and now I can stare unabashedly at his magnanimous blue eyes for hours on end. Okay, maybe not HOURS, but I am happy to be open about it now. To further my justification, I will now compile a list of Reasons Why Asa Butterfield is Attractive and You Should Not Hide Your Feelings Toward Him. 
Reason #1:
He’s extremely good at casually staring into your eyes and capturing your heart.

Reason #2:
THOSE EYES. IS ANYBODY ELSE DYING RIGHT NOW

Reason #3:
He holds babies, and what isn’t lovable about that?

 Reason #4:
He looks fantastic in black framed glasses. *heart explodes*

Reason #5:
He can make goofy faces and still look attractive. (Hello, blue eyes!)

Reason #6:
Look at that dark hair and porcelain skin. Swoon.

Reason #7:
Uh…. His smile is fantastic.

Oh, stop it, you.

So….. Yeah. I think he is a beautiful addition to God’s green earth, and you should too. Although, if you don’t feel the same, more for me! Bweheheheh.

~Haeley

Winter Formal 2013 part 1: the ask.

Yes, I know Homecoming just barely happened, but when you go to a school as small as mine, a girl’s got to ask QUICKLY, otherwise you don’t get a real date and this happens. So, pretty much the day after Homecoming, it’s open season for us ladies.

Just pretend the 3 animals are girls & you have an accurate
representation of what it’s like out there.

 It’s pretty cut-throat.
You have to act as fast as humanly possible, because if a guy is even remotely attractive, rest assured he’ll be asked within two weeks.
And if the guy is popular…. Well, it gets even MORE crazy.

It is a stampede. A stampede of insane girls, all after one boy.
Like I said, you have to act fast.
A while ago, whilst in the midst of running bread route, my darling Jennika and I stumbled upon an idea of complete and utter genius. We would ask Ben and McKay to Winter Formal and double up! However, seeing as how the two of them are easily THE most well-known boys in school, we would have to ask even quicker than usual! We would simply ask them the day of the Homecoming game (a day before the Homecoming dance), and get ‘er done quickly. Here is the illustrated version of our plan:

It. Was. Gold. But as time went by, we discovered that McKay had already been asked more than a week prior (which is totally RIDICULOUS), and then I began hearing about other girls’ intense dislike for anyone who asked before Homecoming. I became timid, and worried about social exile, when I heard another thing that decided it once and for all: Ben, my prospective date, absolutely despised the idea of being asked before Homecoming was over. So I scrapped the early bird plan and decided to ask him Saturday, the day after the dance. By this time I was REALLY nervous, because I didn’t want him to completely hate me for asking so soon, but it had to be done.
So Saturday morning, I was chilling out, editing my Homecoming pictures, when I got a text message asking me if I’d asked Ben yet. I replied that I would ask in approximately an hour and a half.
She said to hurry, because someone else was fixing to ask him that day too. Soon. I had to JUMP ON IT. So, my heart pumping madly and my hands shaking fiercely, I bolted up the stairs and broke the news to my mom. Instantly, she morphed into Super Mom, because without hesitation, she grabbed her purse, slipped on her shoes, and asked me for his address. This was happening, and it was happening NOW. I told her the address, and we zoomed off to WalMart to grab a poster board and some Hershey’s kisses. The whole shopping trip probably lasted about 40 seconds, and we practically ran back to the car. I frantically wrote the words,
Ben,
I “kiss” the ground you walk on…
Will you go to Winter Formal with me?
I wrote my name on the back, and we sped off towards his house. Once we got there, however, we noticed a man in the yard. Worried that it was him, we awkwardly stayed in the car for a few more moments until I realized it was just his dad. So I timidly got out of the car and asked if Ben was home. He said no, and I scrambled up the front walk to set up my invitation. I placed the poster gingerly in front of the door, and sprinkled Kisses all over the porch. Afterwards, I jumped back in the car and we drove home. Having successfully beaten the other girl to the punch, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I did it! I actually did it!
So now we wait….
My fingers are crossed.

~Haeley

Homecoming 2013!!!

Right now it is SUPER late, but I simply had to post this before I get all tired and lose my steam.

Homecoming was tonight! I basically felt like this all week:
And today was really no different! I got my hair done by the oh-so-fabulous Mary Wadsworth, and then headed home to finish my makeup/ get dressed. Earlier today (er, yesterday. It’s late), I got my date a Navy pilot pin, and hunkered down to wait to get picked up. They were a bit late, but it’s fine. We still ended up like 20 minutes early to the dance anyway, so it was fine. :^)
The pictures turned out ADORABLE, and once I get them edited I will put them up, post haste. Seriously though…. My date and I looked SO CUTE. Can’t wait to show you! The whole night people commented.
Now, it’s time to get real. I could bore you with details, but I’d rather talk about my date. I went with Geneal and my good friend, Tyler. I was his first date, since he just turned 16, and lemme tell ya, this boy earned MAJOR points tonight. 
First off, he was a total gentleman/sweetheart/flirt all night long! Opened every door for me, made me feel appreciated, and whenever a boy told me I looked good, he would put his arm around me and say “yeah, well, she’s mine tonight!” Squee!
Another thing about Tyler is his love for planes. We walked into the hangar and both of us immediately freaked out. I had him give me a tour of the hangar and had him tell me about every single plane, and the thing is, he knew TONS about every single one. He knows his stuff, which was so cute. I love to hear people talk about their passions, so making sure I indulged him was a big thing for me. I tried to spend the night focusing on him and making him feel good and important, and I think he did the same thing for me because I have never had that much fun at a dance before (Sadies excluded. But this dance was still better)! Usually at every dance I’ve been to, the boy I’m with will sort of dance with me, but overall there usually isn’t much dancing going on.
Not so this time! Tyler danced with me for pretty much every single song, which was HUGE for me. I’m not used to that, and having him dance with me was awesome! It wasn’t like he was being forced into it, either. He enjoyed it, and at one point I heard him say he didn’t want the night to end! That may have been because of the planes, but I’ll take it. :^)
Long story short, he was perfect, and there will be no complaints coming from me about him! SUCH a sweetie. I’m so beyond glad he asked me, and I’m even more glad he treated me the way he did. That scored so many points, lemme tell ya. He has been raised right! I’m just… Happy tonight. :^D
Pictures will be up soon!! I’ll leave you with this for now to tide you over:
~Haeley

Favorite songs

Lately, I’ve really gotten into Bastille, and so have been listening to them pretty often, specifically the songs Pompeii and Things We Lost In The Fire. I guess I’ve passed the passion down to Dallin, because I caught him singing “Things We Lost In The Fire”- which was one of the proudest moments of my life. I couldn’t get him to sing for the camera, but I did get some pretty sick dance moves:

He’s kind of the most adorable kid. Ever.
Listen to the full song here:

It’s a good song! He’s got such good taste. :^)

-DQ#1

Who we are

Lately I’ve been feeling less-than wonderful in regards to how the world sees me. I wish I was prettier, I wish I was skinnier, I wish I was taller (I really wish I was taller), I wish I was smarter…. The list goes on. And you’d think that maybe I’d be able to get over it, I mean, I’ve been through this before, many times, right?
Right. But each time the insecurities just keep piling up until I hardly know what to do with myself anymore. Why am I the way I am? Why can’t I just be better?
And then tonight, as I was getting out of the shower, wishing I had a different body, I thought about how God sees me, and I imagined what it must be like, to watch over your most precious creation and watch her hate who she is. God gave me this body, and I imagine it hurts him every bit as much as it hurts me when I belittle myself. Some things I can’t change. Some things are entirely in my control, and it’s not up to anyone else to change them except me. I need to love myself more. I need to see myself the way Heavenly Father sees me, because to him? I am enough. I am wonderful. I can really do anything I set my mind and heart to, and that is a wonderful thing.
Someday, I’ll meet a man who makes me feel on top of the world like that. Someday, I’ll have someone who completes me and makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, but for now, that’s my job. I need to feel beautiful and confident so that someday someone else will see that in me and appreciate all that I’ve done to get there.
Because feeling beautiful is hard, but it’s worth it.
Here’s a sweet video that sums it all up:

To the man who made this video: Thank you. I have happy tears. :^)

Just a little reminder. :^)

-DQ#1