Believer, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Washingtonian:
More than anything else my family has shaped me. I wouldn't be who I am today without their love and wisdom. That is why I chose these photos of my family to represent me culturally. Growing up with 3 brothers has made me different than I would have been had my siblings been different. I was a tomboy growing up and I never really showed interest in "girly things." Each member in my family has shaped my personality and sense of humor in some way. As I grow and mature, my family becomes more diverse. When my oldest brother got married and had three kids, he added to the complexity of my family experience. Having nieces and a nephew created in me a new kind of love that I had never felt before. When I first held my niece, Avalee, in my arms, I knew I was going to love being an aunt. The time we spend together as a family during holidays or the other rare occasions that we are all home at once has become so much more special with the addition of Ryan's little family. My other older brother Tristan is now engaged and I look forward to how fun it's going to be to have his wife as a sister-in-law. Getting married added a whole new dimension to my family because I had the opportunity to join another great family from whom I've learned so much. Each member of my family is a part of me and I can't imagine life without them.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is what I've built my life on. All my beliefs, hopes, and dreams come from the teachings of the church. The church has a distinct culture that sets its members apart from others who do not follow its standards. I love what the gospel brings to my life. It allows me to have truth in my life; it brings me joy; it fosters a sense of hope in me; it creates love in my heart; it gives me a purpose. Everything I do and everything I will do in the future is anchored in the teachings of the gospel. One thing that I feel very fortunate to have is the knowledge of God's plan for us in this life and in the life hereafter. I would feel very inadequate if I didn't have the truth that God loves each of us and has a plan for us. The way I dress, how I talk, what I do each day, what I watch, read and listen to, are all based on the standards that I learned from growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I never realized how much I loved my home state until I moved out here to Utah for school. When I go back to visit Washington I feel so refreshed. As you can see from these pictures that I chose, Washington is breath-taking. One thing that I learned from growing up in Washington is environment awareness. I remember having to do many projects where we evaluated how environmentally friendly our houses were. We learned a lot about recycling, turning off lights, using less water, driving less and other environmentally safe practices. One thing that has been really hard to adapt to since moving to Utah is the lack of recycling here. None of the places I've lived in since coming here have had weekly recycling pick up which means that any paper, cardboard, plastic or other recyclable materials go into the trash. What I've learned from this experience is that growing up in Washington has shaped my life practices and beliefs an expectations from the community I'm living in. I lived in Washington for 18 years so it is the schema that I compare all my new experiences to. I've found that I like to say where I'm from and show that part of me.