May 27, 2013

Bye Bye Braces...Hello movement!

Taylor here,

I've returned from touring through China with the BYU Young Ambassadors, and somewhere along the line... the brace fell off and I never put it back on! That doesn't mean I've started doing back flips again or anything of the sort, but it's another step on the way back to normalcy. Even if I never return to where I was, I'm certainly excited to move towards a new normal. 

I went swimming today to celebrate Memorial Day, and by "swimming" I mean slowly walking into a pool and dunking my head a few times. I did a few of the movement exercises that I was given in physical therapy while I was in the pool, and the added resistance of the water made the twisting exercises a little tricky. Outside of the pool, I mowed the lawn and worked out for a while, all this morning before 9 am. It's incredible how an injury like this (and doing basically nothing physical for 6 months) really takes a toll on your muscles. I did 3 sets of 15 push-ups from my knees and used my computer bag to do various types of bicep curls. 

On a different, and much more important note, my sister, Rachelle, has started a non-profit organization called Rose Runners that has really taken off. With Rose Runners, running is more than a sport... you are running for a reason. My younger sister, Madeline Rose, who departed from this world just over 6 months ago in the same car crash that nearly took my life, loved to run! She never ran track or cross country, and she definitely never ran a marathon. She was just your average runner, but she loved it! Rose Runners is designed to raise money to help those who, through tragedy, have overwhelming debt. Right now, Rose Runners still focusing on getting Bailee and I out from underneath the weight of my medical bills. We've had tons of people help us out in remarkable ways and who have given very gracious amounts, but with over $300,00.00 still unaccounted for, we're running out of options. I'm still communicating with the hospitals and trying to work things out, but who knows what the outcome will be.

There are tons of races (5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon) going on around the country, and no matter where you live, you can be apart of Rose Runners. One of the best ways to help is to become a Fund Raising Captain and head things up for the race of your choice. Talk with your friends, family, and coworkers to let them know what you're doing. Tell them you're going to be running in a race and that you're running in memory of Madie, and supporting a great cause at the same time. People can run with you, or they support you in your run by giving you a couple dollars for each mile you run. By raising money and running in the race or if you are a supporter of someone else running, you can get you very own Rose Runner or #tayandbay active wear shirt to wear while running.

Find our more at

My goal is to get well enough to run/walk a half marathon at the end of this season!

Let's run together. Let's cheer for each other. Let's make a difference!


May 26, 2013

I am a Rose Runner. And it's DEFINITELY more than a sport.

I am so pumped about this everyone.
I hope you will all get involved.
Running has become such a huge part of my life, and I am so excited that it is now with a cause and a reason.
I, along with many others, will be running a half marathon in honor of Taylor and Madie as the first official "Rose Runners" race.
Check it out at
I am hoping do get as many people as I can to sponsor me by donating a dollar for every mile I run, so 13 dollars. 
If you want to get involved or become a Rose Runner yourself, visit:
This is amazing. You will want to get involved, I promise. 
When you go through something like we have, the only thing we can do is find purpose and reason to keep going and giving back. I really believe that Rose Runners is just the thing.
Madie, this is for you. Thank you for helping us all find something to keep us going. 
And to stay in shape :)

May 19, 2013

The day everything changed… from the happiest, to the saddest... and the perfect way of things.

Today marks 6 months since the happiest day of my life.

And tomorrow, at 6:00 A.M. marks the saddest day of my life.

And tomorrow is Madie’s 19th birthday. She died at exactly 18 ½ years of age.

It is still really difficult to wrap my mind around how quickly Taylor and I went from being completely elated, on cloud 9 and feeling that nothing in the world could bring us back to earth. Even on our engagement video I shouted the words “It’s perfect!” as Taylor gave me the 6 dollar temporary Kohls ring and asked me to spend eternity with him.

But then, 6 hours later, we literally crashed to the earth, our world shattered, and the glass everywhere to prove it. Madie died instantly in the crash, and Taylor was severely injured. People have asked how I managed to handle that scene, and all I know to say in response is: “God. He guided me through every step. God helped me every second of the way.”

And now, 6 months has gone by faster than I thought possible, and at the very same time, slower than I thought possible. So much has happened that it is indescribeable to try and put into words. But what I do know is that Heavenly Father knows us and has helped us, again, every second of the way. Taylor and I were talking at the 5 month mark about what we had learned, and Taylor’s response was absolutely perfect. “I wouldn’t trade it for what I have learned and who we have become.” I agree. Heavenly Father will never allow a tragedy to befall, a trial to endure, or a difficult challenge to leave us high and dry with no where to turn. He IS there. The difficult challenges we find ourselves in truly can be an opportunity to become who He needs us to become. It doesn't make the trial any less difficult, but provides light to a seemingly dark and frustrating path. 

The biggest thing I have learned, though, is that it can STILL be perfect. It just looks different. The "perfect" moment of our engagement was definitely what we might consider perfection. But I have come to learn that each day is perfect, filled with ups and downs and everything in between, but still perfect. It is all a part of this glorious plan we are a part of and we have the ability to make each day an absolutely perfect day, even if it doesn't look perfect in the moment... eventually, it will all come together into a perfect puzzle where each piece, whether light or dark, has a purpose and is needed to make a beautiful picture. 

However, it is still extremely difficult to understand why sweet, beautiful, Madie had to leave this earth and return to her Heavenly Home. This world was better because of her, and now we are all left to try and fill the void that she left. I struggle when I talk to the Morris family to have the words to adequately describe how incredibly sorry I am that this happened. All I know is that I was there, the images in my mind are as real as day, and I can say without a doubt that all of this happened for a reason.

It is always a weird feeling to come up on the anniversary each month… I feel a sense of wanting to understand more than I do now, but I also can say that what I wished I understood 6 months ago I understand more now… So, with that in mind, I hope that in 6 more months more light and understanding has come.

We are on this earth to experience joy, and this is a principle that Taylor continues to live by every single day. He is such an example to me of finding joy in the journey, no matter what bumps (literally) come in the way. I am catching on, slowly but surely to the wonderful life that living in joy can be. We often talk about how incredible blessed we have been over the last 6 months. We have grown in ways unimaginable. We are so grateful. There is so much to be joyful about, and I hope we always try and feel the joy that we are on this earth to feel!

Happy 6 months of our engagement to my Taylor. The most wonderful guy in the entire world. He is my everything, my other half, my stalwart, my best friend, my laughter, my joy… I can’t believe I am lucky enough to spend eternity with him.

And a birthday note for Madie:

It is still incredibly weird that you are not around. I love remembering our dance parties in the car, grocery shopping, game nights, spending time the three of us, visiting you and your roommates in her apartment, and many talks we had together. You are a light. You will forever be a light in this world that misses you so dearly. We are trying to make it better, the way you did… help us along, will you? I am trying to be more like you… trying to be more like our Savior, just like you. I am learning to understand what is most important, and believe it or not, that change and shift in my life is completely because of you. Thank you. I miss you, Taylor misses you, we all miss you. Take care of things up there until we all figure out enough of our earthly experience to be privileged to join you. Love you Madeline Rose.

May 11, 2013

The greatest mothers I know.

I know a lot of really fantastic, loving, beautiful, and strong mothers.
Many of those mothers have influenced me in ways I cannot even explain!
I have 3 sisters who are all three brilliant, dedicated, fun, and faithful mothers.
I have "2nd Moms" who step in when Mom can't be there and help me with Mom-type things.
(you know who you are)
I have examples of women and mothers all around who set an incredible standard of  faith, kindness, hard work, humility, strength, and most of all, faith.
These mothers deserve a lot of things. Most of all, they deserve recognition, and a sincere "thank you". 
And probably a day with no cooking or cleaning and maybe some flowers.
There are 2 moms in particular that I would feel completely ashamed if I didn't recognize personally on this Mothers Day. They deserve more than I could ever even try to offer them, and they have blessed me more than they will ever know. 
Meet: JoLynn Morris and Darlene Brinkerhoff
JoLynn Morris is a woman of extremely high caliber. In less than 3 months, I will be lucky enough to have her as my Mother in Law. 
I can't even try to express how grateful I am for this woman.
The first time I met JoLynn was in a hospital. Her daughter had died and her son was in a hospital bed barely able to speak. She embraced me and said so many words of comfort, an absolute portrayal of the Christlike love this beautiful woman exemplified. I felt loved immediately from a Woman who should not have had the energy to express that kind of love.
 I knew that JoLynn was a fantastic woman and mother by the way Madie and Taylor talked about her. I loved hearing them brag about her skills, talents, and just the quirky, amazing woman she is. I will never forget Taylor, tubes coming out of his body, glued to a hospital bed and in so much pain saying "You're the best mom in the world." Taylor loves his Mom, as do the rest of the Morris clan. She has been through more than any mother should have to experience, and yet she is faithful and recognizes God's hand in her life day to day. 
JoLynn: Thank you. Thank you for raising the perfect son who I love with all of my heart. Thank you for raising beautiful children in faith and kindness. Thank you for being an example of enduring through trials with faith and an eye upward. Thank you for loving me and for being my friend. Thank you for allowing Heavenly Father to inspire you daily: it is inspiring the rest of us. You are strong, and I admire you in so many ways. I love you future Momma in Law! 

And then there is my Mom. 
Where to even begin? 
You are incredible. 
Sometimes I can't believe all of the people you manage to love, serve and cheer-up every single day. 
You are strong, loving, faithful, funny (sometimes :) ), and you have extremely good taste (sometimes :) 
Thank you for being an example to me of diligently striving to do everything you can for your children. 
I want to be that kind of mother. 
Thank you for putting up with my ridiculous-ness.
I want to be that kind of mother.
Thank you for always being there when I want to talk, for always asking, and for letting me be quiet when I'm not quite ready.
I want to be that kind of mother.
Thank you for raising us children in faith and everything that is good.
I want to be that kind of mother.
Thank you for loving Dad. Enough said.
I want to be that kind of mother.
Thank you for helping us all. ALL. THE. TIME.
I want to be that kind of mother. 
Thank you for always providing a home where anyone is welcome, any time, any day, under any circumstance. I always loved knowing that everyone knew they were welcome in our home.
I want to be that kind of mother.
Thank you for teaching me so many things. You are the best teacher I know!
I want to be that kind of mother.
Mom, do you understand how awesome you are!? You are truly the awesomest. I love you more than I can say.
To all of the Mothers who have inspired me, helped me, guided me,  been a shoulder for me to cry on, a person to laugh with, eat with, shop with, and learn with. You all have been a huge part of my life. Please know how grateful I am for you!

May 7, 2013

Making friends with myself... creating a new culture

Me and my body have had quite the relationship over my 25+ years of living.
Guess what?
My body can do amazing things.
I ran 13.1 miles on Saturday.
I can walk, run, jump, dance, breathe, sing... the list goes on.
So why, for so long, have I continued to be harsh, unkind and not a good friend to this wonderful gift from my Heavenly Father which has been nothing but  a loving, kind, caring friend to me.

We have a meeting once a week at the MTC for the teachers. Today, the subject was "culture". We came to a conclusion that the word "Culture" was what was created by beliefs, routines, expectations, and standards driven by a community or group.

The actual definition: 


  [kuhl-cher]  Show IPA noun, verb, cul·tured,cul·tur·ing.
the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern forwhat is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners,scholarly pursuits, etc.
that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
a particular form or stage of civilizationas that of a certainnation or period: Greek culture.
development or improvement of the mind by education ortraining.
the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social,ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.

Obviously, it was specific to the culture of the MTC, but we also delved into our own person cultures that have either been a part of us due to circumstance, upbringing, etc, and how they influence our every day thoughts, actions, and pursuits.
It really got me thinking...
What kind of culture do I have now, and what do I want to change about my own personal culture?
Before the tragic day of the accident, my culture was shallow. It wanted to be focused on important things but, because of this culture created by inner core beliefs about who I "should" be or what I "should" look like, had become completely focused on exactly what I didn't want it to be focused on: appearance.
After our world was turned upside down, habitually I have wanted and tried to go back to that familiar culture. To go back to "normal". The norm of always trying to be "skinny", of making my world revolve around that feat. But... I couldn't and I cant.
Because there is more to life than that, and God has been teaching me a hard lesson on the important things.
The culture must and will change. 

Madeline Rose Morris lived life the way we all should: focused on beauty and all good things. Her culture was and is of God. 
I know Madie wants us all to focus on that as well. Taylor has the same culture... They must have some pretty amazing parents, eh?  We can all learn from their example. 

I feel that the past 6 months I have learned more about what it means to be beautiful because of who I am, what I stand for, and who I have become through the experiences I have had, having nothing to do with my outer appearance. It is a liberating, freeing, and experience worthy of nothing short of a miracle. God has been involved, teaching me things about who I am little by little and through different people and experiences. What a magnificent blessing.

So, I am making friends with myself. Becoming reacquainted with this wonderful house in which I reside, through which I have been able to accomplish great things. My words are different towards this wonderful gift. My thoughts are changing, and my focus expanding. 

My body was strong enough to help Taylor survive. That is enough to make me feel that my body is perfect now. It is weird for me to even type those words. But deep down, I believe that.

My culture of who I am is changing and it will continue to change. Do I still feel a need to exercise and eat as healthy as possible (some days, it's just NOT possible, folks)? YES.
But WHY?
Not because there is something wrong with me or the way I look, but because my body is a gift from my loving Heavenly Father and I want to do my best to continue to do the things that He needs me to do. 

Can I get an amen?


May 5, 2013

Missing tay... And a few experiences.

I used to really love blogging. It was sort of my "place" where I could just write, and think, and get it all out there. Since coming home from my mission a year ago, it has been hard for me to get back into it and I feel really strongly that it is high time for me to get back into the wonderful land of blogging. 
I think part of the reason it's been hard to get back in the swing is that I feel there is SO much to recap on, that it is sort of overwhelming, BUT I realized today that there is only today, and I can start there. Join me.
So Taylor is gone in China for Young Ambassador tour. He has been gone for 1 week yesterday and has 2 more to go. It's been a long week, that's for sure, but I am trying to fill my time with lots of good things.
Here are a few:
I am training a new teacher at the MTC for the Visitors Center class, so I have had the opportunity to work double shifts and help her learn the ropes. What a wonderful place to work! I love being able to feel the spirit of the missionaries and remember the wonderful experiences I had as a missionary in Los Angeles.
I had the AMAZING opportunity to sing for the closing session of Womens Conference by myself and with a dear friend Rob Moffat. Elder Eyring was the closing speaker, so we preceded his talk. It was definitely the most nerve racking experience of my life. I sat there thinking "is this real? I am about to sing for 20,000 women and an apostle of the Lord. Woa." It was an indescribable experience for sure. We are so blessed to have a Prophet and Apostles on the earth. I know they are truly God's servants.
Yesterday, I ran a half marathon! Woo hoo! It was hard and my hips wanted to jump out of my body and slap me in the face, but I finished in 2 hours and 26 minutes. It was a victory for sure. I will be training for another one in June as the first of many races supporting Taylor, and also a foundation to help many people in honor of Madeline Rose. Info coming soon!!

Today, at church, and after many beautiful conversations with a dear friend, Delight, from home who was visiting, I studied the words "Enough" and "fulfilled". I have been thinking a lot about what is enough, and what it takes to truly feel and be fulfilled. I found one common entity: Christ. He is where we can be fulfilled. Because of Him, we are enough, we have enough, and we will always be enough. I am so grateful for my Savior. 
I miss the guy, that's for sure. But I have really enjoyed being able to accomplish some great things. I am so grateful he has the opportunity to share light with those people! He really is a light to so many... I believe he carries the name of Christ in such a dignified and wonderful way.
I am blessed. God is good. I am happy and full.