Friday, June 7, 2013

He's back!

I left for my mission in June 2010, and Isaac left for his in June the following year. That means that we overlapped and went almost three years without seeing each other. Man, I've missed Isaac! There have been multiple occasions in the past year and a hald when I think, "man, I haven't talked to Isaac in ages. I should give him a call!"...only to remember that he's on his mission and I simply can't call him. Ha.

Isaac is such good people. His emails inspired me and just confirmed that he was a fantiastic missionary--one of great fire and focus. He was there to serve the Lord and to teach the people of Hong Kong. It's been great to hear his mission stories today, and I look forward to more to come.

The three amigos--I feel complete to have us together again.

Isaac's flight came in a half hour early and we were running late. Bad news. We were crusing (and I really mean crusing--just flyin'--on the freeway) to get to the airport and be there when Isaac came out. Can you even imagine how depressing it would be to not have anyone greet you upon returning home?! Anyway, Mom and Dad had Eli, Lacy, and I run in just to make sure someone was there. Luckily we were. But don't worry, Mom and Dad still got proper homecoming hugs :)
Oh, and Eli's the one who made all the sweet posters. 

I'm so looking forward to spending more time with the fam this weekend. (And I'm not-so-secretly not looking forward to going back to Utah. It's so nice here and I just love feeling taken care of! Who needs real life when Mom makes breakfast and there's a piano to play at your leisure?) 

Atta girl!

Last year at BYU–I I went to a lecture from on the faculty members I really admired. She talked about the transition from college to the work force and how to get your foot in the door. One of the things she mentioned in her lecture was the value in creating an "atta girl" folder of sorts. An "atta girl" folder is a place, whether online or physical to gather positive feedback you receive for your work. As simply and even vain as this may sound, I can't tell you how much I've loved the suggestion. 

Anyone can tell you that I'm an avid Gmail labeler--and that may be an understatement. Anyway, one of the labels I created for my work email is "atta girl," and I'm just loving it. See, as cool as it is to have my work published and seen by so many, it's also terrifying. When I wrote for the school paper back in high school I cringed every publication day because I was sure that someone would call or write in saying something was inaccurate about an article I'd written. You'd be surprised by how disheartening and even crippling it is for me to disappoint someone. It is one of my least favorite feelings in the entire world. That being said, sometimes I get some painful emails. I got something wrong, I used a quote someone didn't like, and one time someone was angry that my endnote says I'm a BYU–I grad (he said my writing should not reflect my university). 

So, sometimes I really do get nervous when I see a new message in my inbox. But because of the bitter, the kind notes I recieve are all the sweeter. Here are some of my favorites from my "atta girl" emails :)

  • This is a terrific example of a roundup-- a main storyline within our areas of emphasis (faith, religious freedom) coupled with useful links to deepen understanding.  Well done. - Chris Lee, one of DDM's main men
  • Appreciate you checking out our Rainn Wilson piece and writing it up. - Eric Marrapodi, Sr. Producer for
  • I just read your article about the woman that taught her daughter about bullying. Super good! I really enjoy working with you and I think you are a great writer. - Emilie B., coworker
  • You should be proud of the articles you produce, much luck in the future. - Joseph R.  
  • Wow, that's sooooo awesome, thank you very much. - Erik Endress, a man I quoted in my piece about Google Glass (this was his response when I emailed him the link to the article.)

I realize that I need to develop a thicker skin, but what it all comes down to is that I just want to make people happy--and it means the world to me when someone is willing to go out of their way to give me a boost. I can't help but smile when I know someone just wanted to say something kind and make me feel better. You know, there are a lot of good people out there :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

1 Month at D. News

Tomorrow is my one month mark at Deseret News. My thoughts: me gusta. I'm kept busy all day, the girl in the cubicle next to me is a bud, and I feel competient and useful. Allow me to break down a typical day for ya:

  • 8:30-8:45 - arrive at work, start browsing the news to see if there's anything I noteworthy
  • 10:15 - editorial meeting on the Deseret News side (I actually work with Deseret Digital Media, so I hang out on the web side). The meetings consist of Emily (my editor), Sarah (my work buddy), Emilie (a BYU–I grad and the "RM Hipster"), Kate (BYU grad and friend of Katie Fred), Katie (not to be confused with Kate), Aaron (D. News main-man), Trent (big time sports guy, served in Chile, and all-around hilarious), and Joe Walker (a phenominal writer and that kind of man that mades one feel happier with his mere presence). In the meeting we talk about what's going up on the web that day as well as pitch possible story idea. 
    • I'm working on my annoying habbit of saying "Oh! I saw that too!" when people talk about an article I saw earlier. It's irritating, and I've started to bug myself.
  • 10:50 - story time. I either have a left-over piece from the day before, one of those long-term features to work on, or start on a new piece. Sometimes it's something I brought up, and sometimes it's a piece Emily asked me to do. How long it takes me to write an article varies on how much research is involved, how much commentary there already is on the topic, and how juicy I think it should be. 
    • link off - a link of is simply a brief synopsis of an article that already says it all. My job is to say, "this website said this, take a look.
    • round up - this is when multiple sites are saying similar things. I take the most important information and put it into a faith or family perspective.
  • 1:30 - Well into my snacks that constitute my lunch at this point. With slight variations, I usually have: apple, crackers & cheese, sandwich (PBJ, PBH, tomato, swiss, and mayo), granola bar, veggies (carrots, snap peas, and cherry tomatos).
  • 4:00 - ah, still writing
  • 5:30ish - go home, and that's a wrap
  • throughout the day - checking Facebook, Twitter, and even Google News for fresh story ideas. I don't feel super up on my hard news, but as far as everything else goes, you'd better believe that I know about it!

My New Besties

Having Eli and Lacy live so close has been nothing short of heaven-sent. Seriously. I can't tell you how great it is to join them for Sunday dinners and to stop by occasionally during the week. (In return for a fabulous meal Eli makes me play a board game with them afterward. Let me put an emphasis on board game. Gah, not my fav, but it's totally worth the food and the company :) But really, those two have been so good to me.

Playing "Aquire" with Eli and Lacy. It's all about buying stocks in the right companies and building a fortune. One time I won. That was cool. Another time I really messed things up and I made Eli really mad. So mad that he made us play another round of the game. I'll never make crazy moves like that again becuase it means playing more Aquire. Nei takk.   

Eli has become one of my best friends. We've had some meaningful heart-to-hearts that I won't forget. I feel comfortable telling him everything--work, guys, money, fears, triumps, ward, frustration--and he tells me about his life. Heh, he's also talked to me about home equity, travel bugs, Star Trek history, and more. I know. We do it all.

Last Friday he picked me took me on a motorcycle ride, we went out to eat at a flatbread pizza joint, and browsed through Barnes and Nobel. The next day we went up Milcreek Canyon to go geocaching and Eli wouldn't leave until we found the box we were looking for. He's no quitter, which is actually a really good example to me. Here's to my older brother!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Some Bullet Points

  • I write a blurb of what I did every single day on my calendar. I've been doing it since middle school. A bit strange, I know, but I've come to a point where it drives me crazy to not know what I did on a certain day. I honestly think that this practice has made me so good at remembering dates and has created a solid "timeline" of sorts in my head. For this, I am grateful. 
    • Anyway, the other day I realized that I have nails in my wall that I'm not using for anything. Then I remembered that one ususally hangs a calendar on the wall rather than sticking in under the mattress or proped up against the wall. So I hung up my calendar, and it looks like this.
...I can't believe this is blog worthy...

  • Last week my toliet stopped working. I took of the lid and fixed it. I'm still pretty proud of myself.

  • Last Saturday Tyson called me up to volunteer to walk a dog at the animal shelter. I went with him, his girlfriend Sheridan, and Scott and Malena. I walked the cutest dog, and we had some good bonding time. I forget that sometimes I like animals. I named him Balto until I realized he was a she. Fine. Balta it is.
She crewed on that tennis ball so much that she deflated it. Oh, and I found another one and it was so funny to watch her try to fit both of them in her mouth at the same time. So, so funny.

  • After walking the dog, I went out to eat at Chipotle with Sarah Willi and we went to a Salt Lake Real soccer game. Chipotle didn't disappoint, and the game was really fun. Seriously, there is a cool sense of community at those games and I really enjoyed myself. 
Mmm, Chipotle...

Sisters' Dinner

On Sunday night I went to a little Sisters' Reunion. Ah, I am so grateful for my mission buddies. We all have such different personalities and lives, yet we have Norway as a powerful bond. We (they) made kjøttkaker, poteter, gulrøtter, brokkoli, og frukt med saus, ååå, så deglig! (Translation: meat cakes, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and fruit and vanilla sauce.) As delicious as the food was, the company was even better. I will forever be grateful for my mission companions and accociates. I never anticipated what a great blessing they would be to me both on and after my mission.

Sisters Butterfield, Taylor, Johnston, Brown, Dunford (Berggren), og jeg.
I trained Sister Taylor, was in the MTC and served with Johnston and Brown, and was with Sister Berggren a good seven months. Yeah, I know these girls. 

As for first names: Brooke, Jessica, Whitney, Traci, and Kaitlin. 

We ended the evening by making smores, telling mission stories, and singing på norsk. Bare koslig!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gail Carson Lavine Speaks

On Friday night, I drove down to Provo to hear Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted speak. I went with Keri, Anne, Chelsea (Keri's sister), Kaitlin, and Amy (Kaitlin's friend). I really enjoyed it! See, years ago I went to a fourm at BYU-Idaho where Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Pastwatch, spoke, and I hated it. Let's just say that he has a rather brash personality and it really rubbed me the wrong way. But it was actually quite fun to listen to  Mrs. Levine speak, she is good people. She talked about how and why she became a writer, and she also gave tips to aspiring writers. And gosh, I was flooded with memories of just how great Ella Enchanted is. Seriously, that book's a winner.

Me, Anne, and Keri proudly displaying copies of Ella Enchanted.

We were in Group A to get our books signed. Oh baby! -- AND look at how close we were to Gail, talk about a brush with fame!

Amy and Kaitlin reading in the beautiful Provo Public Library. Was this posed? Yes. Very.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sugar Days

I moved. Yeah, I know that I do that about every four months, but this has really felt like a big move. I'll even venture to say that the transition from high school to college was easier than my transition from college to real world. Seriously. For one thing, real life is EXPENSIVE!!! Boo! I also found out that real life doesn't come pre-furnished. Double boo. It really stressed me out to drive arcross Utah to purchase a mattress, dressers, desk, table, chair, and rug. You have no idea. Suffice it to say that I'm done making big purchases for while. But an emiphany I've had from this expereince is that I'm going to start acting like I have a home. For the past five-plus years I've been treating everywhere I go like a temporary abode. I'm there four months and then I leave. I live the nomadic life and it's starting to catch up to me. So, now that it's physically impossible to move all my belongings in one car load anyway, I'm going to make my house a home. You know, like frame some pictures to go up on the wall, get a real bedframe (maybe), and get those new towells I've wanted for ages. It's important to feel a real sense of belonging where I'm at rather than just scraping out a meager living.

So I believe it's been good for me to move to Sugar House, and I am enjoying myself. It is so nice to come home after work and to just be done (unlike school where I couldn't seem to catch up with all of my assignments). With the new-found time I have in the evenings I've taken to blogging (as you can read), going to ward activities, wedding receptions (so it begins),  catching up with old friends, and getting to know the city. Also, in the coming months I hope to "domesticate" myself, make a trip down to St. George and up to Logan, and get back into reading. Wish me luck!

For the sake of getting things on record, here's a glace at my new place.

The duplex where I live. 
The dressers that stack on top of each other that I bought on KSL. $20 each. I still felt good about my purchase.

My matress...really needs one of those skirt dealios. I invested a good amount of money into my sleep. The only problem is my bed frame. I need to put something underneath or right next to those wheels because they like to move me around at night. No me gusta. 

I didn't feel like I had a home until I got this desk and chair (Thank you IKEA!) Until I bought the chair the only places to sit in my entire house were my bed and the toilet. This desk and chair combo has been a life-saver!
My $20 IKEA rug has substantially helped in making my room feel more cozy :) 
...and my bathroom (yes, I get my own bathroom). It appears that girl who lived here before me never cleaned. Like, ever. I just spend a good hour spraying and rubbing and breathing in dust and chemicals, and believe me, it was totally worth it to get rid of that disgusting ring inside the toilet. So gross!
And lastly, here is a picture of my church building (the Highland building). I really enjoy going to church in an older building. 

Deseret News

I started a new internship with Deseret Digital Media (DDM) last Monday, May 6. I write online content for the faith and family sections. When I first started with University Communications for BYU-I last semester it was initally difficult for me to get do public relations writing. I told my suporvisor Marc Stevens that PR writing made me want to barf because of all the "flowery" words and such. Marc had to retrain me by saying, "there is no crying in baseball, and there is no barfing in PR." He told me that PR writing isn't barfy, it's just warm. Fair enough. Ha, when I needed to tweak my pieces he'd say, "just massage it a bit, Abby."

But with DN I'm back to journalism, and it's been a trickier transfer back than I thought it would be. I'm surprised by how must I miss those "warm" words. Anyway, I work in the DN building downtown (which is connected to the KSL building and next to LDS Business College). I just love my back view of the Salt Lake City Temple. I work with some really great people and I'm treated really well. I published three pieces in my first week, a couple blurbs about some YouTube clips and a feature about adoption (about Ryan and Amy Harris). You can read some of my pieces for yourself here:

  • or, to just see a list of my published articles, click on my name in the byline, or just click here

**Just a sidenote, the blurb about the 11-year-old girl singing the national anthem has more than 7,000 views, whereas the adoption article has just over 1,000. Gah, I put way more work into that feature. It's taken a bit of a toll on my faith in humanity. Just a bit.**

Just today I was walking around the office and I thought to myself, "I can totally do this." I'm all for being stretched and growing and whatnot, but I cannot tell you how great it feels to be qualified. I write a piece at least everyday now, and I've never thought, "this is entirely above me." I'm sure I'll run into difficult articles, but so far I feel really comfortable and happy with the work I've been doing. I'll repeat myself, it feels so great to be qualified.

I'm a journalist!

Back view of Temple Square from the Triad Center where I work.

The different sites that Deseret Digital Media encompases.

One of DDM's mission statements, and a worthy cause if I do say so myself. 

My first published feature. Ah, it feels so good!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Joy Is Full

You know, I don't know when I'll ever go back to visit Norway. Of course, I want to visit, desires not lacking, it's just not financially practical at this stage of my life. But lucky for me, Norweigans have the proper funding and they frequenly come to the States to visit. It's awesome. This evening I got to see Alexander Herland, who was/is a miracle. We found and began teaching Alexander three weeks before I finished my mission, and he was my øyenstien. Just that apple of my eye to be cliche. He was an atheist when we first met him, but he was willing to try. What made Alexander special is that he was a commitment-keeper, and that made all the difference in the world. He read in the Book of Mormon. He prayed. He came to Church. He earnestly sought, and he found--for the Lord is bound when we keep His promises.

Alexander's States and I got to see him this past Thursday. I LOVED seeing Alexander and giving him a great big hug. He's here in Utah on visit. He went the Church last Sunday, and he's going again this Sunday. He loved visiting Temple Square and seeing the inside of the Conference Center. He knows how to use the word testimony in a sentence. He recognizes the Spirit. He said he liked seeing how the missionaries live the gospel in "regualar life."

I got to talk with him and ask him questions like how his life has changed since he joined the Church.
Heaven. I was in heaven. I will be eternally grateful that I could met and teach Alexander. I wouldn't say that he ever needed me, but man, I needed him.

With Alexander I constantly felt the reminder that the Church is true. And I haven't found any other source of greater peace and happiness than in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in sharing its great message with others. Ah, my joy is full. Thank you for staying true Alexander, you really don't realize just how much it means to me.

 Gorgeous day in Provo Canyon. I forget how beautiful Utah is sometimes!

Look at how happy he is!

I'll never forget Alexander. Never ever. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Home Away from Home: Grandma's

I love spending time with Grandma, and that's always what I seem to do in my "between" phases (between semeseters, between jobs, etc.) She's always kind enough to take me in and make me feel at home. Here are just a few bullet points of what I was doing while I was at Grandma's.

Vista Royale Family Home Evening - it's no secret that I like having FHE with this neighborhood better than a singles' ward. A LOT better. The week we played Hand and Foot Grandma and I dominated. Grandpa Brady would be so proud!

Here's the gang! (minus one). I love this group. 

GRE - While I was at Grandma's I made an effort to strudy for the GRE. The score stands for five years, I figure that I'd like to take the test while I'm still feeling "school-sharp." I had a difficult time focusing at home, so I liked to go to the Springville library to study. Even though I didn't do so hot on the test (Seriously. I bombed it. Please don't ask me about it), I'm glad I still took it. I'm not sure if I'll end up going to graduate school, but it's important to give myself as many options as possible.
And I thought this was so funny. One day at the library there was this cute little bird that kept trying to fly inot the widow. 'Twas hilarious to me. 

BYU Graduation - After having such a positive experience with my graduation, I decided that I should go support my friends and family members who were graduating from BYU. Mmm, nice weather and even better company!

Chelsea Christensen, Hannah Christensen, and Kaitlin Berggren Dunford. 

I got back into running while I was at Grandma's. I discovered the Salem Ponds and that has turned into my new favorite place to run. Picture this, Map My Run telling me how far and fast I'm running, This American Life (Ira) streaming in my ear, and beautiful scenery to gaze upon. Ah, good times. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Surprised to see me back on here? Don't worry, that makes two of us. Just as a quick recap, I graduated from BYU-Idaho April 12 and have since moved down to Utah again.

Originally, I had no interest in attending graduating ceremonies. Like, at all. I always knew that I would gradate from college and it didn't seem like that big of a deal. That--and I thought walking meant sitting through hours of names being read and that simply didn't appeal. But at the insistence of Mom and Dad, I consented, and agreed to walk for them. Dare I say it, I actually enjoyed graduation. I've decided that it's important to celebrate the milestones in life, even if they've been expected. Graduating was no surprise for me, but it did involve a lot of work. Here are a few pics from the day:

Me and my roommate Jenna. She graduated in music and she's a total a gem. 

Mom and Dad were more excited about being there than I was, which made things more fun. 

 Meet Brother Judkins. He's the man. He nominated me for Newell K. Whitney award and said just about the nicest things anyone has every said about me. Like, ever. I took a visual media class from him back in 2008 and loved his sincerity and passion for teaching. I remember coming back from my mission and not only did he still recognize me, but he remembered my name and gave me a hug. He is good people. I took creating online media from Brother Judkins this past semester and it was HARD. We covered HTML, CSS, and PHP. It was a steep learning curve, but B. Judkins really worked with me and let me come into his office for private tutoring sessions. I will never forget Brother Judkins kindness and patience in helping me. Truly, he is a doer of the word, and for that I won't forget him and his powerful example. 

I took some time to look at my time at BYU-Idaho by the numbers. Here are just a few (believe me, I left quite a few things out) stats I posted online:

122 : BYU-I credits

104 : devotionals
53 : BYU-I classes
11 : campus buildings I’ve had classes in
8 : semesters
6 : housing complexes
5 : Rexburg winters (NEVER again)
2 : campus jobs
.5 : times I made flash cards (maybe)
0 : times I changed my major or minor
countless : quarters used for laundry, times I fell asleep in class, mornings in the Hart building, calls home, times I battled the “I really don’t want to write this paper” feeling, hours upon hours spent in the David O. McKay Library, someone telling me “things will work out” and they did

Thank you BYU–Idaho, it’s been a good run.