xoxo // flashbacks


//I'd fallen asleep, just like I always do. It was an inevitable fact of life in those days; when the decision was made to watch a movie, they were well-aware that ultimately that decision would result in an unconscious CaLea. But nonetheless, we watched movies a lot. When the movie began, the three of us were nestled comfortably on the couch. When I eventually dozed off, however, my unconscious-self felt entitled to the entire couch. So, in a precious moment, when I came to for just a minute, I found myself sprawled across the two people who, together, made up my entire world. I fidgeted a bit, in an attempt to get comfortable again, but in my tossing and turning the blanket that was covering me exposed my toes. And almost immediately, I felt him tucking my toes back in, ever-so-gently. 

//The sun was out but autumn refused its warmth. And there we were, cuddled up in the tiniest of blankets, as the fall breeze nipped at our noses and beckoned for us to come out and play. The sky was painted with the most magnificent pattern of clouds and the sun, despite its loss against the autumn breeze, valiantly illuminated the moment with its brilliant rays of light. I swear that one moment lasted for at least an eternity. There were no words exchanged because at that point, words were simply not necessary. He knew my heart and I, his. So we stayed there, cozy and content, and I thought to myself, "If this is what forever is like, then I want forever."

//I told him I wanted to learn how to longboard, but now that I think back to it, I think all I really wanted was him. I was just never really willing to admit that. But nonetheless, he showed up on my front porch with his longboard tucked beneath his arm and a smile spread across his face as he said, "Ready?" I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be merely because he'd always made it look so easy. The moment I placed both feet on the board my knees got all wobbly and my thoughts began to match. "Woah, woah, woah, hey. HEY! Don't let me fall!" I exclaimed as the board (slowly) began to drift down the natural slope of my cul-de-sac. He casually jogged after me and put his hands on my hips to stable me. Without a moment's hesitation I death-gripped his shoulders. He thought that was so funny-- tough CaLea with eyes suddenly full of uncertainty. I didn't let him leave my side once that night; which resulted in him running laps around my cul-de-sac so I could get a glimpse of what it felt like to ride a longboard. I bet he was exhausted... but he didn't care. I remember noticing the way he looked at me and thinking, "It would only make sense for me to fall in love with you." Little did I know...

//It was one of the very last nights of summer. The weight of the coming school year was weighing heavily upon our shoulders. I didn't want to think about it-- which is exactly why he kept teasing me about it. We sat upon my front porch with guitars in hand and plucked at the strings until the very last rays of light leaked from the heavens. I don't remember what we talked about, I just remember the moment. I remember it because it was a moment of peace and happiness despite all the chaos and madness of the world. That's always what he could offer me: peace and happiness. Year, after year, after year... he was so patient and so loving and eventually, I came around. 

//We were playing hide-and-go-seek and we'd both ended up in the exact same hiding place. It was a cramped little place for the two of us to hide and I thought the fact that we were wedged to awkwardly together in such a bizarre set of circumstances was absolutely hysterical. He covered my mouth with his hand as I was overcome by a fit of hysteria, "CaLea!" he whispered,"Lea, you've got to quit laughing or else they're going to find us." And of course, his urgency for silence just made me lose all control over my laughter. Someone came into the room-- we heard their footsteps slowly move across the room-- his grip on my mouth tightened and I held my breath. And then, just as quickly as the searching visitor had come, they vanished. I looked at the darkened figure of that boy I knew so well and quite unexpectedly, my whole heart was filled with an unexplainable warmth. Before I even knew what I was doing, I had pressed my lips to his cheekbone in a simple act of adoration. We stayed like that for a moment-- he was entirely confused and I guess I was too-- but when the words came to me, I whispered them, with my lips still pressed to his cheek, "Hey, I adore you."

//I knew what day it was but I kept trying to distract myself from thinking it. I diligently slaved away at work in attempts to drown out thoughts of him with thoughts of everything and anything else. But despite my efforts, all I could think was, "He's leaving. He's leaving. And he never said goodbye." I pretended that it didn't bother me, but it did. It was eating away at my heart and cracking my soul and leaving my mind in a whirl of confusion. When I got off work, I grabbed my things from my locker and slowly made my way to my bike. I was scared to check my phone because the time had already passed, It had already happened. I was so happy for him yet so torn up about how everything had played out and there was nothing I could do about it. His goodbye came in the form of a text message; after months of no exchanges of words at all, I received a final set of words as a parting gift, "CaLea. Thanks for all you've done for me over the years. Maybe you don't know it, but you've been such an incredible influence on my life and I wouldn't be the man I am today without you. Thank you for all that you've done for me. See you in a few. --xx" And that was it. After everything, it was done. He was gone. I couldn't hug him, I couldn't say goodbye to him, I couldn't even remember the last time he'd looked at me like he actually cared. My heart felt heavy-- but not in the normal way. In a new, much worse way. I rode my bike off campus and back to my apartment as the sun flooded the sky with brilliant oranges, pinks, yellows, and purples. 

The sun was setting on another day and I had to accept that tomorrow would come, whether I was ready for it or not.


i like my lovely bubble.


Of all the awkwardness I've experienced in my time, this "limbo" time period really gets the gold ribbon for being the awkwardest stage of life ever. I just want peace. I want to spend nights in my bedroom writing and reading and drawing. I want to spend evenings with my family at my house doing family things. I want to take pictures and experience the crisp autumn air in the beautiful Utah mountains. I want to embrace the current set of circumstances that life has dealt to me. And honestly, people are stressing me out. I'm sick, not dying. I'm home, and hopefully not staying. I'm not trying to adjust to real-life because I'm not ready to be done with missionary life yet. I got home from my mission after a traumatic month and a half of illness, and spent a great deal of time the first few weeks either at the hospital or at home on my couch. 

I'm not ready to go on dates or to go and "hang out" with people. I'm not ready to just go about a normal lifestyle like a normal nineteen-year-old girl. I want to get back to Korea. And that's what I'm putting all my time, effort and energy towards accomplishing.

I guess that only the people who are closest to me understand how important this is to me. I'm in a missionary bubble and I have no desire whatsoever to pop it. So, just give me time. Let me work things out. Be patient with me. Don't dump an array of sharp words on me and then blame it on "stress." We're all stressed, each and everyone of us, for one reason or another. And stress is no excuse for being rude or short-tempered. Spread happiness, not frustration. Be supportive, not distracting. And give me a little space. Because I'm not ready to date nor am I even slightly inclined to begin dating again at this time.

I'm not sure what I am feeling; maybe it's an assortment of everything. But I'm trying to figure it out. And I promise, I'm trying to do such with a smile. So give a girl a break instead of giving her a piece of your mind. People are always going through tough times-- don't be the kind of person who contributes to that.


Hope // Despite Everything, You Can Win.


Over the past couple of months I've been struggling with my health. I was digging for answers everywhere and it seemed as if nobody could manage to come up with even one valid answer as to why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I received treatment, but I was not healed. As I have passed through this trial, my eyes have been opened and my heart has been filled with a sense of understanding and sympathy for all those who are currently enduring, have endured, and will yet endure similar sets of circumstances.

I was recently contacted by a woman name Heather Von St James, who, eight years ago, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as pleural mesothelioma. After all that I've experienced with my own health issues over the past couple of months, her story not only touched my heart, but inspired me enough to want to share it with you as well. 

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. The only known cause of this form of cancer is exposure to a toxic substance known as asbestos (which is not banned in the United States). Heather was diagnosed just after she had given birth to her sweet daughter, Lily, and was told that she may not live to see her daughter's first birthday. 

Mesothelioma is a very serious medical condition and, like many other medical conditions, doesn't receive the amount of attention that it truly deserves. At this point, there is no current cure for mesothelioma, but there are procedures that can be done in order to improve the mesothelioma prognosis. 

I was so touched not only by Heather's fight against mesothelioma, but by the attitude that she carried and her determination to never give up hope. In our lives, we will be faced with countless situations in which we will feel the weight of the world upon our shoulders. It is my hope that we can always remember how important it is to never give up-- even when we feel surrounded by darkness. 

I searched for so long for answers to my own health problems and came up short. I hope, however that when others are diligently seeking out answers concerning their lacking or failing health, that they will be able to find the answers they need in order to not only fight against their ailment, but to, like this incredible woman, Heather Von St James, conquer it. 

By spreading awareness about health conditions such as mesothelioma, we can promote not only the discovery of new treatments, procedures, and ultimately a cure, but we can also help others who may be suffering from this ailment to be able to find answers before it is too late. 

For more information on the symptoms of mesothelioma cancer, click here

My love, support, and prayers go out to all who are looking for answers concerning their various medical conditions! 

Oh, and happy National Healthy Lung Month!


i'm good at matching.


//I dress myself exactly the same way my five-year-old niece dresses herself. And I'm completely fine with it. Matching colors and patterns are too boring. My brain needs a little utter chaos in order to feel at ease. 

//Yesterday was such a busy Sunday. I felt like a missionary all over again. I left my house at 7:30am and didn't get home until 6:00pm. And after teaching mission prep, speaking in sacrament, meeting with my stake president, getting set apart as a ward missionary, and attending a ward missionary meeting-- as soon as I got home I stuffed my face with as much food as I possibly could in five minutes then went into hibernation in my room for the remnant of the day. Seriously. I crashed. And didn't wake up until morning. 

//So, as of yesterday, I've officially "resubmitted" to be a missionary. As for the rest of the details, (such as, how long I'll have to wait to hear back from the mission department, where I'll end up going, what's going to happen, etc.) I'm entirely in the dark. I have no answers whatsoever. BUT, I've done my part and now, it's just time to wait. (again.) Cross your fingers on my behalf because I left my heart in Korea and it's kind of important to me that I get it back.

//Today, as I was driving home, I started craving sour gummy worms. So, naturally I made a pit-stop at my local sour-gummy-worm-providing store and began my journey home extremely excited to indulge in the gummy goodness. As I arrived at a stop sign, however, I saw a whole family, kids and all, just hanging out on the corner with a cardboard sign that I'm sure said something along the lines of, "Please help us." I pulled away from the stop sign and I just couldn't seem to ditch the feeling that I needed to go back. And I just looked to the passenger seat of my car where that bag of gummy worms was sitting and I thought to myself, "Are you REALLY going to be so selfish that you're going to give up on one of the only opportunities in which you actually HAVE something to give?" SO, thanks to my conscience, I made a giant U-turn and pulled back up to that corner, rolled down the window and said, extending the bag of gummy worms, "I don't have much, but I do have this." I've never received a more genuine look of gratitude in my entire life. I rolled up my window and pulled away for the second time just as he turned towards his family and I heard him call out his kids' names.

//Several times over the last couple of days I've felt SUPER prompted to do very simple things for strangers. For example, holding open the door for a wobbly little elderly woman who is walking into the store, smiling at the mail-man, you get the idea. And a couple of times I've neglected to act upon those promptings. It's crazy to me that so often I find myself displacing promptings from my father in heaven just because it may seem "awkward," or because I'm "busy," or for no reason at all. But I've learned that the more diligently we heed those promptings, the more often they come. 

p.s. never withhold a compliment, because I think those are almost always promptings from heaven.

//My feels are all over the place. Like, holy hannah. I didn't even know that some of these emotions even existed.

//Sour gummy worms and the dollar store are my two favorite things right now. Whoop whoop.


hiding place.


There once was a little girl named CaLea who, when entrapped by wretched emotions such as frustration, fear, or despair, would run as rapidly as her little legs would carry her to her little room, lock the door, and hide in her little closet with naught but the company of her most cherished book and loyal stuffed comrade. 

Solitude has always seemed to have the capability of silencing the chaotic details of my existence. I think the most evil emotion is frustration; but only because it goads all the other dreadful emotions to squeeze themselves into the already-cramped space within your brain and then all at once you're entirely overcome by the inescapable feeling of suffocation. 

Life has its moments, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have my moments as well. 

I'm alright and I know that I'm going to be alright, but I've been tossed into deeper water and I've just got to figure out how to swim again. At moments I feel as if I'm flopping my arms about like a lunatic in desperate attempts to stay above the surface and at other moments I feel as if there's someone or something else holding me up and allowing me to breathe. But no matter what, I know that I cannot drown. I may get a little water caught in my lungs and I may sink a little lower into the dark cool mystery of life's boundless sea, but the one who is teaching me to swim will not let me sink beyond His reach.

Today, I just want to hide in my closet and escape the world.


mountain song.


There is something about the autumn air up on the mountain; it heals the soul and whispers peace to the heart. My mind has been on hyper-speed for the past couple of months, but every time I hear the mountains beckoning me and I heed their call, my mind finally feels pacified. 

There are certain friendships that are forged under the most peculiar sets of circumstances; I think those ones always turn out to be my favorites. This gentleman was the very man who kept me wide-eyed and confused at the MTC on my very first day because he kept telling me to do stuff but refused to speak to me in English. His first impression of me was me putting my enormous bag full of books upon my desk in his classroom only to have the entire desk topple over due to the sheer weight of the bag. Now, so many months down the road, I'm here at home and he's still there to help me out during those "tough missionary times." And he's just one of the many people who made my MTC experience one that I'll always remember with a smile. 

I talked a lot about my feelings yesterday on two different occasions. I even stayed up until five thirty in the morning laying on a little apartment floor with one of the people I will forever consider one of my best friends and talked about everything from wolf shirts to the gift of agency. But I walked away from that conversation feeling as if my soul had grown a couple of inches. 

I'm grateful for the relationships that exist in my life. I'm surrounded by people who strengthen me, lift me up, and challenge me to be better. Day to day conversations turn into life-changing moments for me because of the people I am so fortunate to associate myself with. I'm beyond grateful for the major ways in which my life has been influenced by so many beautiful souls. 

I'm not sure what comes in the next chapter of the book of CaLea,
But I do know that I have a good feeling about it. 
And after all, God is in charge.




Guess who got medically released today....

>> THIS GIRL. <<


happy medicine.


I've been been consuming too many meds to keep track of over the last couple of months; some of them helped, most of them didn't. But as long as I've been alive, I've never been a big fan of modern medicine. Yes, I acknowledge that medicine is awesome and life saving and pain preventing and a whole bunch of other things... but I'd prefer a long board ride down the canyon when the leaves have turned to gold and the air has a nice little nip to it, caramel apple spice, and a night full of reminiscing through the pages of an old photo album. I've been on a new medication that has been helping a whole bunch, but I haven't felt as good as I felt when I was cruising down the canyon on a set of four wheels with nothing but the wind ringing in my ears and the sight of the sunlight flickering through the dancing leaves. It made me feel so... alive. And for so long I've felt so dead inside. 

It's important to keep busy and to be doing lots of important things like school, and work, and other grow-up stuff, but I think it's also important to take the time to be happy. We all have our little happy-ticks that make our soul smile and our heart burn with enjoyment; but sometimes we forget to implement those simple, little things into our lives. When we're so busy that we forget to enjoy the seemingly-insignificant details of our lives, then I believe we're TOO busy. 

We were put on this earth to do a lot of things, 
but, like the missionaries all keep saying,


p.s. have you gone to see "Meet the Mormons?"