Continued . . .
You’re such a positive and loving person. You’re known for your warmth and kindness in your circles of friends. What part of your perspective helps you sustain that kindness? Thank you, I don’t know if I am that way, but my older sister Missy has had the biggest affect on me in that area. I see how she is and I see how it makes me feel and I see how she does it. She brings out the best in people and I love it. Her doing that for me has sustained my life.
What do you mean “sustained your life”? My mom passed away when I was 8 and my dad didn’t really care about us before she passed away but it got much worse after she died. I was the fourth of 5 kids in my family. The older kids left as soon as they could. Things got worse and worse. My sister kept offering to have me come live with her and her family but I didn’t want to be a burden. But at one point it got so bad with my dad I told him I was never coming back and I didn’t. When I moved into her house I came from somewhere where I felt I didn’t exist. Like I didn’t matter at all and how I felt didn’t matter. I went from nothing to being tucked in every night at the age of 15, and having packed lunches every day. Being somewhere where someone wanted to take care of my needs.
How did your testimony change over those years? I’ve been shown that the gospel is the only way through it. Just like Liberty Jail, the worst, most lonesome, dark, dreary times can be beautiful and full. And through the Spirit, and the Lord’s presence, you can know you’re never by yourself. And if I didn’t have those moments when loneliness led me to the Spirit I would never have reached that kind of silence, to have everything gone, to feel the Spirit that way.
You were a visual arts major at UVSC and at Tufts in your graduate program. What role has your art played in your life? When I can let it be what it is, it’s like a paradise. Like the month I did a painting of you, and of manta rays I could work on it for hours and hours and hours and I never felt alone when I did that. And, this is very, very rare but it was like entering a different world, somewhere else, where other things matter. When I painted my big red picture and the one of you it felt like I was in a different world of happiness and brightness.
What music do you love? Classical, jazz and neo-soul.
Who are your favorites right now? Tchaikovsky, Nina Simone and Maxwell. I’m sort of obsessed with The Nutcracker 12 months of the year. It’s beautiful and powerful and positive. I also love screen composers.
Last but not least, tell us a little about your fiance, Mike. We met at FHE in my singles ward. He’s in a different ward but was visiting our FHE. He caught my eye instantly and I thought, 'well, who is this?' I actually thought the words, before talking to him, 'that’s the kind of guy I want to marry'.
What do you most love about him? When I try to answer a question like that it doesn’t come out adequately. I’ve never felt this way around a person before. I love the calming effect he has on me. He just makes everything feel great. He’s so bright and so positive. He came in and lit up my life. I feel like Heavenly Father is saying 'See, I told you so. I told you this would come.' in the warmest way.