I will never forget.

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Today, as we remember the tragic events that occurred on 9/11/01, I wanted to write some of my thoughts down. I have thought most of these things for the last 15 years and am only now coming to realize that they need to be said, if only to help finally release some of my built up thoughts. I’d like to just mention that I’m not writing this for anyone but myself. Over the years, I have seen and noticed a build up of emotion and opinion in myself about our country and our world, and I believe a lot of that stemmed from the events of 9/11 and how they shaped my once innocent outlook on our world into what it has now become.

9/11 did affect me. It affected me greatly. I was just a 7 year old little girl getting ready for my first day of Girl Scouts when my mom turned on the television and began to cry. “What? What happened? What is it?” I can imagine myself asking her. My mom didn’t explain much to me, but I do remember my dad pulling in the driveway and running inside, also crying. He and my mom just sat and stared at the TV for a long time. I don’t remember what happened for the rest of the day. I don’t remember how my parents explained it to me, but I do remember how I felt.

I remember that from that day forward, I was acutely aware of the fact that there really was evil in the world. I grew up in an LDS family. I knew about Satan and the fact that he was always trying to make people unhappy and commit sins. I also knew that there were “bad” people out there in the world, but that superficial knowledge was all I had to go off of. But I remember in that moment and as the days and weeks passed, I, as a small 7 year old girl, could not help but wonder at how people could be so cruel. My parents helped me see the positive things in the months that passed, such as people’s faith being strengthened and the nation coming together. But I could not shake that initial thought from my mind.

I never knew anyone who was personally in New York during 9/11. In fact, only a few weeks ago I met the first person I know of in my life who had been in New York that day. But 9/11 still affected me greatly.

I am an extremely patriotic person. I can attribute that partly to my parents, and I will admit that for many of my middle and high school years, I didn’t know much about politics and just parroted a lot of the things I heard them talking about in the house. However, as the years went on, I got more curious. As far as 9/11 goes, I haven’t gone a single year without watching some sort of tribute, documentary, or at least a few Youtube videos on the topic. And as far as politics, I have tried my best as I’ve grown up, to be neutral and learn as much as I can about the world around us. I have tried to see the issues from not my conservative lenses, but from my human lenses. But this post is not about my opinions on political issues.

What this post is about is freedom. It is about security. It is about evil and good in this world. It is about how a 7 year old girl had to grow up a little more knowing her country was being attacked. It is about how thousands of little boys and girls all over the world are having to grow up fast for a lot worse. It is about the lives lost that day and in wars around the world.

I love this world. But I really, really love my country. Having lived in both Chile and Mexico (where I am currently living), I have seen the other side of our borders. I have seen what it is like for people not to live the way we do. And I love what our country stands for. I love what it has always represented. I love how the United States stands as a beacon of hope and strength, even when it is being attacked. I love how when I watch the movie United 93, the American people had the courage to fight back. They knew they were going to die and they did their best to save our country’s leaders.

On 9/11, 15 years ago, we all saw something that we didn’t think could happen on our soil. A deliberate and violent attack that took almost 3000 lives. And what did we do? We came together as a country. We prayed together and went to church. We hugged our families a little harder and made sure not to leave the house in a bad mood. We smiled at strangers and became unified. Now? Look at us! Look at where we are. Police brutality is growing at scary rates. Mass shootings seem to happen once a week. ISIS is more and more a part of our everyday news. Our politicians are all corrupt and selfish people who are dividing our country. And we are not coming together. We are not praying together, or uniting as a country. In fact, we’ve never been so divided.

I think that my fascination with 9/11 isn’t so much a fascination as it is a chance for me, at least once a year, to not only justify watching those videos (and maybe cry a little…), but to reflect on how I felt that day and how things have changed. We aren’t as shocked at mass killings in our own country as we used to be. After 9/11, Almost all of us couldn’t get it out of our minds for months. But now? For example, after the killings in Orlando did we sit and think about it for months? Did we rewatch the footage dozens of times? Will we remember it in years to come? I don’t know. 9/11 hit me hard, but the changes in our country are hitting me harder.

9/11 was a horrible tragedy that breaks my heart to remember. I cry watching videos of loved ones recounting their last moments with their mothers or sons. And I love my country even more for it. I am proud to be an American in those moments.

Right now I live in Mexico, during a time when being an American in Mexico is not very popular. And you know what? I’m still proud to be an American. And I sat and watched 9/11 videos all day today and remembered and cried and loved my country. But I am not proud of what America is becoming.

So here are my final thoughts. To those of us who are still patriotic, and maybe those same people who put the #neverforget on Facebook along with a few passive posts about 9/11, we need to do more than just not forget. I haven’t forgotten for 15 years. But never forgetting something requires an action. It requires change. It requires more than just passive Facebook posts. It requires love. We have to start loving each other again. Praying again. Stopping racism and bigotry and hatred of others’ beliefs. We have to be patriotic again. Stand up for our country again. Stick up for our founding fathers and the bases of this wonderful nation again. We have to fight for our freedoms again. We have to fight for our Constitution again. Vote for good people and bring faith and family and love back into the United States of America. We are called that for a reason right? We are supposed to be United, but I couldn’t feel more divided. 9/11, we will always remember you. But I promise that I will continue to fight and push for that “after 9/11” feeling we once had. I know we can be United States again. 

❤ Julia

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Wedding!!!!

So, it’s true! I am now Mrs. Taylor 🙂 I haven’t really updated my blog much since I got married (or even when I was dating… oops) just because it’s been CRAZY as you can probably imagine. But now I’m living in Mexico!! We’ve been here a month now and we have 3.5 more left in this beautiful city!!!

But I wanted to share some of my thoughts on my wedding and of course, pictures! 🙂

First of all, I married my best friend 🙂 And we are completely inseparable. I don’t think since we have been married that we have gone more than 2 hours without seeing each other! Honestly I don’t even know if we’ve gone that long! I know it sounds crazy, but I don’t even mind! I love my hubby and we have such a blast together all the time. This week we literally just sat in our house and watched movies and the Bachelor hahah and it was STILL such a fun week!

Anyways, back to our wedding! We got engaged in March and didn’t get married until July 16! I know for some people that probably seems incredibly fast, but we were DYING. We could not wait. Since we’ve been here in Mexico, a lot of the international students can’t really believe that we are married this young either! But our answer is once you know you wanna be with someone, and you know you don’t want to ever be with anyone else, why wait? Obviously for us, starting a family is a priority. And for me, an eternal marriage is a priority as well. Some people don’t have that same mindset, which is totally fine! But we might come off a little strange to some people… and tbh we don’t really care 😉

Our wedding was really fun though. We were married in the Rexburg Temple and we were so blessed to have most of our very close friends and family with us in the sealing room and at the reception. We had a ton of people who pitched in long hours of work and sacrificed a TON to help us with the reception. It was a super cute backyard reception but it took tons of effort! I don’t wanna brag buuuttt… I made almost all the decorations by hand 😉 So I’m pretty awesome. Hahaha jk. But I did feel pretty accomplished!

Because we are in Mexico though, the physical professional photos of the wedding day haven’t gotten to us yet. But we have a few others (and our bridals!) which I’ll post!!!

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Getting hitched!!!

So… It’s official!!! I’m getting married!!! I don’t think I have posted on here for a few months now. And I don’t even think I posted about us getting engaged.

But my best friend, Keegan Taylor, and I are getting married on July 16! We have 19 days left! I am so excited, nervous, unbelievably happy, and at peace with this amazing opportunity I have to spend eternity with my mejor amigo.

And to add to the craziness…. we are spending our first 5 months of marriage in Mexico, studying abroad!!!! Uhhh yeah!

Here’s some pics of us 🙂

Spiritual Thought

So this week I have been studying 1 Corinthians. I really enjoy this book in the scriptures because it is easy to understand and has real world advice that I can apply to my life now.

I wanted to sort of highlight two of my favorite chapters in this book and talk about them a little more, just because 🙂

FIRST

1 Corinthians 10

I love this chapter!! It opens with talking about how we should not be ignorant, and as I interpreted it, just going through the motions. We all follow the same God, do the same things, but Heavenly Father with us is “not well pleased” (10:5). This struck me because in my personal life I have really struggled lately with going through the motions. I mean, come on. I shouldn’t because I have every opportunity NOT to. I’m in a religion class, going to a private church college, a return missionary and have every opportunity to get closer to Christ on a WAY more personal level. But for some reason, I find it hard.

For some reason, I let work, school, friendships, a boyfriend, and any other distraction (*cough cough Facebook cough cough*) get in the way of my spiritual life. And that is what hit me when I read the beginning of this chapter.

But the verse I want to focus on is 13. This verse is one of my favorites right now. It says: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I think when I was in seminary, this was a scripture mastery verse? Not sure! Either way, kind of as I was saying earlier, this goes along with me going through the motions. Because I believe Satan is pretty dang good at what he does. When we are just going through the motions of life, I believe it is easy for him to slip in the cracks and tempt us. I know that’s been true for me. In October 2010, President Monson gave a talk called the Three Rs of Choice. I really encourage you to read it. The gist of his talk is that we have the right and responsibility of our choices, but we also have to face the results of them, good or bad. One quote I love says: “No temptation, no pressure, no enticing can overcome us unless we allow such. If we make the wrong choice, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

President Monson hit it right on the head. Heavenly Father did not put us on this earth with temptations that we are not strong enough to resist. Why would he?? What’s the point in putting us in a situation we can’t resist failing in, and then punish us for failing? I think he loves us more than that.

Second

1 Corinthians 6

These verses are harsh, but so true in today’s world.

 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Along with the above verses, these are little more direct. I’m not here to point fingers, and I don’t want to publicize my sins either. But I know that I, as well as everyone else, am not immune to temptations of this kind. I guess that’s sort of my theme lately; fleeing fornication.

Like I said, Satan is VERY good at what he does. He’s had thousands of years of practice!! And he sure knows how to get me to fall. But Heavenly Father has given us the tools we need to keep going. To stay strong!! Even if Satan has his tentacles around me, pulling me in like that creepy Kraken on Pirates of the Caribbean, I will try my hardest to get out of his grip. In fact, even better, I will try to stay out of the water!!! That way he can’t even get to me.

I’d like to finish this post by saying one thing. Whether our temptations be of the carnal, sexual kind, or of another nature, we all face them. It isn’t a sin to be tempted. Our Lord and Savior himself was tempted by the Devil. The sin comes when we give in. And that is where we must choose to be strong and courageous. Like one of my EFY themes years ago, we need to stand steady and sure so we can resist the wind, waves, and the Kraken that are coming for us.

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good days are ahead

So I am really happy lately 🙂 I haven’t written in about 5 months now, but a lot has happened! I am in my 4th semester up here at BYU-Idaho and I have been dating an amazing boy from Sugar City, Idaho for about a month now 🙂 His name is Keegan and he is honestly the best thing about my life right now! BUT, there are other great things going on too!! I am loving my classes and my major, and I am really excited for an opportunity to go to Queretaro, Mexico this fall with my roommate and Keegan 🙂
Anyways, I guess what I am trying to say was 2015 was very difficult for me. I really struggled with a lot of things last year. But good things are ahead 🙂 For everyone. I think life is a lot like a rollercoaster. The uphill climb takes forever it may seem, but there are some awesome, SUPER fun downhills and 360 loops 🙂 Yeah, you’ll have to climb uphill again, but that’s because an even bigger downhill drop is coming. Have hope!
🙂 Love, Hermana Dunne

 

Moving on

Hey there 🙂

So I haven’t written in a while because honestly, I’ve had nothing to say. But a lot has changed in the past month so I figured I’d post about it!

So first of all, I’m moving in 9 days! Crazy. I had planned to move up to Idaho for college in September with everyone else, but then I realized I needed a job. So I was going to go up a few weeks early. but THEN, the store that I work at closed down! So I am moving ASAP and have found a lot of blessings as I have tried to get ready to move.
I feel really RIGHT about it. And I have been able to get as much money as I’ve needed, which is really cool. I have had exactly the amount of money that I need for every expense- gas, my rent, new tires… etc. It’s all been pretty awesome. I’m just so grateful for that.

SECOND of all, things here in Arizona have gone downhill pretty fast. I think with depression and anxiety it’s definitely a rollercoaster, but I haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel lately by living here. And honestly it was really hard for me at first when I realized pretty much my only option was to go back to Idaho because I do NOT love it there. But now that I look back, all these struggles recently have helped me be more optimistic as I think about Idaho and my future, because I realize it HAS to be better than this. Which is a good thing! It has helped me be more ready and willing to move there.

As far as friends go, I still have my close friends. But I have found out who my truest friends are. One of the larger events that happened recently was me finding out that someone who claimed to be one thing was NOT that at all, and was not nearly the person they said they were for a very long time. That really hurt, but I figured out that it’s just life. People come and go and people disappoint you. It sucks, but there will be better people soon that come into your life 🙂

Anyways, I know I’m being vague here, but I’m just excited for what the future holds. I am really looking forward to starting my life for real and getting going on this! I’ve been sitting back for way too long because of my health, but now I think I have it under control and I am ready to start a new chapter of my life.

🙂 Julia